6 Lessons from the World’s Top Hiring Managers

September 30, 2013

What if you could pick the brains of some of the most successful hiring managers in the world? Imagine the valuable nuggets, the stories, the inspiration, the great information you could gently share with your own hiring managers (hoping to transform them forever…).

Well, you can stop imagining and just read on.

Over 80 LinkedIn Influencers, ranging from Richard Branson to Jack Welch to Lou Adler, shared their hiring philosophies in our “How I Hire” series released today. As expected from formidable leaders like these, some of the stories will make you laugh, some may make you emphatically sigh in agreement, but hopefully none will make you cry (otherwise you may need to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your hiring managers).

Visit the How I Hire page to browse all the stories and find what inspires you and what you can apply to your recruiting day-to-day. In the meantime, here are some great nuggets that we picked from the posts:

1. Hire for personality not skill.

This is one of the main rules of Sir Richard Branson. He believes that if you find an employee with a personality that’s a great cultural fit, then you have done 99% of the work. Skills can be taught and trained, personality can’t.

2. When looking to transform your company, don’t promote from within. Hire from outside.

Jim Citrin from Spencer Stuart argues that while insider CEOs outperform outsiders if your company is healthy, the opposite is true if your company is in crisis and is looking to transform itself. One recent example of this strategy succeeding? Marissa Mayer.

3. Don’t rely on intuition or first impressions to make hiring decisions.

Lou Adler tells a cautionary tale of rejecting great candidates just because they don’t fit your mold. If you think that all great executives must be “in your face” and aggressive, then you might miss out on the truly great leaders, as illustrated in Lou’s story. Bonus wisdom? What comes around, often goes around in hiring and business. Don’t treat interviewees unfairly.

4. To make hiring easier, deploy a specific qualifications checklist.

Legendary GE CEO Jack Welch believes that your ability to hire a great team improves with time and practice. However, the fastest way to boost the quality of your hires is following his checklist of two must-haves, five should-haves, and one special quality. As Jack says “ Make sure you look for people who truly demonstrate the seven qualities on our checklist. And when you find someone with that magical eighth, do whatever it takes to bring that game-changer into the organizational fold.” Find out what qualities made the list, in his post.

5. Don’t look to put the best person in the job, look to put the best team together.

Sallie Krawcheck, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, uses a great basketball analogy to hammer this point home. If you were to put together an all-star basketball team, most likely you will pick the most distinguished and famous all-stars…the best people for the job. Unfortunately, it may turn out that all of them are point guards, or all of them have the same strengths. Avoid this – don’t hire great individuals, hire individuals that make a great team. Hire people that make you uncomfortable, people that are different, people with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

6. It never gets better than the interview.

Lots of hiring manager and candidates may argue that interviews don’t really give a complete or fair picture of the interviewee. Buzzfeed President Jon Steinberg begs to differ. For him, the hiring manager’s experience with the candidate during the interview process is very indicative of what their working relationship will be. If the candidate is fast to respond, excited, full of ideas and easy to talk to, then most likely they will make a great teammate. If they are slow, disinterested, unpleasant during negotiations, then don’t waste your time and compromise by extending an offer just because of their great qualifications.

Hopefully these six posts inspired you to start a conversation with your hiring managers, understand their hiring philosophy and offer up some of the newly learned wisdom. If you are hungry for more, read the rest of the How I Hire influencer posts.

 Hiring Manager Relationship