What’s the best way to evaluate a potential hire?

Claudio Fernandez-Araoz (Executive Board of Quilmes International, General Manager of the Quilmes Brewery)
21st-Century Talent Spotting

The first indicator of potential we look for is the right kind of motivation: a fierce commitment to excel in the pursuit of unselfish goals. We consider motivation first because it is a stable—and usually unconscious—quality. If someone is driven purely by selfish motives, that probably won’t change. We then consider four other qualities that are hallmarks of potential, according to our research: Curiosity: a penchant for seeking out new experie… (read more)

Jason Lemkin (Managing Director at Storm Ventures, SaaStr.com)
From the perspective of a CEO, what are the most underrated skills most employees lack? – Quora

Ownership. Most employees just can’t be owners. This may not matter at Adobe, or Google, or wherever. But up until you have 500 employees or so, the CEO is looking for owners. People that don’t just play a role, but truly own something, that make 100% sure it comes in ahead of time and ahead of expectations — with as little drama as possible.

Rachel Feintzeig (WSJ management reporter)
The Boss Doesn’t Want Your Résumé – WSJ

Bosses say blind hiring reveals true talents and results in more diverse hires. So-called “blind hiring” redacts information like a person’s name or alma mater, so that hiring managers form opinions based only on that person’s work. Companies invite job candidates to perform a challenge — writing a software program, say — and bring the top performers in for interviews or, eventually, job offers.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
The Right Kind of Ambition – Ben’s Blog

People who view the world through the me prism might describe a prior company’s failure in an interview as follows: “My last job was my e-commerce play. I felt that it was important to round out my resume.” Note the use of “my” to personalize the company in a way that it’s unlikely that anyone else at the company would agree with. In fact, the other employees in the company might even be offended by this usage. People with the right kind of ambi… (read more)

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
The Right Kind of Ambition – Ben’s Blog

On the other hand, people who view the world purely through the team prism will very seldom use the words “I” or “me” even when answering questions about their accomplishments. Even in an interview, they will deflect credit to others on their previous team. They will tend to be far more interested in how your company will win than how they will be compensated or what their career path will be.

David Heinemeier Hansson (Partner at Basecamp)
The limits of trying to test people when you’re hiring | A Founder’s Notebook

The only reliable gauge I’ve found for future programmer success is looking at real code they’ve written, talking through bigger picture issues, and, if all that is swell, trying them out for size.

Basecamp (Basecamp is a project management tool that offers a variety of customer service options.)
This advice on how to get a job tells managers exactly what to look for when hiring | A Founder’s Notebook

When you’re hiring, seek out people who are managers of one. Whats that mean? A manager of one is someone who comes up with their own goals and executes them.

Alex Jumašev (Founder & CEO of Jitbit)
Startup hacks we learned in 2013

Instead of asking tricky interview questions trying to understand if someone is a good fit – hire them for a task after a very basic interview. And “friendly-fire” them in case they fail.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
How to hire senior executives for your startup | A Founder’s Notebook

Get backdoor and front-door references

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Hiring millennials – what to avoid | A Founder’s Notebook

Great people don’t have a sense of entitlement. They’re prepared to roll up their sleeves to get stuff done. And because they succeed, they end up with better careers and far greater financial rewards than the people who feel entitled.

Dharmesh Shah (Co-founder and CTO of HubSpot)
Happy Birthday HubSpot! 9 Lessons From Our First 9 Years

Imagine you hired this person. Would you issue a press release to let the world know that you brought this awesome person on board? If so, you’re probably more focused on what they’ve done instead of what they will do for you. Don’t get me wrong, if you can get someone that’s a great fit and they’ve accomplished something in the past, and you think that’ll translate to doing great things at your company, go for it — and may the force be with y… (read more)

Laszlo Bock (SVP of People Operations for Google)
How to get a job at Google

The no. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I. Q. It’s learning ability. [The second] is leadership — in particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership. What else? Humility and ownership.

Marina Janeiko (Developer at GitLab Inc)
What to look for when hiring someone to work remotely | A Founder’s Notebook

What skills or mindsets are you looking for when hiring for remote positions? People who write well, since most communication is written. People who are self motivated, since there is no one around to tell them what to do. People who are curious, because they tend to try things rather than sitting around and waiting for instruction.

Mark Zuckerberg (Founder & Chairman & CEO at Facebook)
How To Get Ahead: Entrepreneurial Lessons From Mark Zuckerberg

Over time, what I figured out was that the only actual way to let someone analyze whether someone was really good was if they would work for that person. (in essence “Would you want to work for this person?”)

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Is it OK to Hire People from Your Friend’s Company? – Ben’s Blog

[When considering hiring an employee from a friend’s company…] once the you become aware of the conflict between hiring the superstar employee and double-crossing your valued friend, you should get the issue onto the table by informing the employee that you have an important business relationship with his existing company and you will have to complete a reference check with the CEO prior to extending the offer. Let him know that if he does not … (read more)

Dr. Todd Dewett (Executive Coach)
Trial periods and deferring premium pay | A Founder’s Notebook

Use non-permanent initial employment. Defer premium pay. Instead, go market or submarket. Are you willing to pay top wages for top talent? Yes. Should you pay it before seeing what they can do? No.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Is it OK to Hire People from Your Friend’s Company? – Ben’s Blog

A good rule of thumb is the reflexive principle of employee raiding which states: “if you would be shocked and horrified if company X hired several of your employees, then you should not hire any of theirs.” The number of such companies should be small and may very well be zero.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Gaurav Dhillon 2.0 and His All New Integration Company – Ben’s Blog

In summary, one general rule of mine is don’t hire or fund rich people. The reason? Building a technology company is hard. It’s really frackin’ hard. Many of the tasks that you do when building one are no fun. When things go wrong as they always do, it’s no fun at all. Rich people tend to like to work on things that they enjoy, because if they don’t enjoy it, well, they are already rich. When the going gets tough, the rich get going . . . to thei… (read more)

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Hiring Executives: If You’ve Never Done the Job, How Do You Hire Somebody Good? – Ben’s Blog

Know what you want. [Avoid] hiring on look and feel, looking for someone out of central casting, and valuing lack of weakness rather than strength

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Hiring Executives: If You’ve Never Done the Job, How Do You Hire Somebody Good? – Ben’s Blog

The very best way to know what you want is to act in the role. Not just in title, but in real action—run the team meeting, hold 1:1s with the staff, set objectives, etc. In addition to acting in the role, it helps greatly to bring in domain experts.

Dr. Dana Ardi (Corporate Anthropology Advisors)
MBA Mondays: Guest Post From Dr. Dana Ardi – AVC

Winning contemporary workplaces stress innovation. They believe that employees need to be given an opportunity to make a difference – to give input into key decisions and to communicate their findings and learnings to one another.

Dr. Dana Ardi (Corporate Anthropology Advisors)
MBA Mondays: Guest Post From Dr. Dana Ardi – AVC

Avoid hiring only superstars. It’s about company teams, not just the individual. Sure, it’s totally tempting to create an All-Star team, but in case you hadn’t noticed, those people don’t pass the ball, they just shoot it.

Dr. Dana Ardi (Corporate Anthropology Advisors)
MBA Mondays: Guest Post From Dr. Dana Ardi – AVC

New hires are more than just the college or university they attended. In short, don’t hire credentials, hire people.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
MBA Mondays: Best Hiring Practices – AVC

Hiring is a process and should be treated as such. It is serious business. The first step is building a hiring roadmap which should lay out the hiring plan over time by job type. This should be built into your operating plan and budget. You want to be very strategic about how you invest your scarce resources into hiring and think carefully about when you need to add resources.

Ryan Howard (Founder @ Practice Fusion)
Transcript: Protecting yourself as the founder; Ryan Howard | VatorNews

The wrong leader – choosing the wrong leader can set your company back by more than a year. I’ve seen this first hand multiple times. Let’s take sales for example. It might take three to six months to hire someone, another three months to get them on board and that’s actually being quite friendly. On the life sciences front, I’ve had searches using professional search firms that take more than a year. It can be quite painful to find the right per… (read more)

Ryan Howard (Founder @ Practice Fusion)
Transcript: Protecting yourself as the founder; Ryan Howard | VatorNews

What I found over time is that definitively, they should be able to do the job, but in addition, they would have to be a culture fit. The reality is you’re going to spend more time with these individuals likely than your partner or spouse so you have to get along. It’s the only way that you’re going to build long term value together. Total assholes, again, will just ruin your culture. Whether other people admit it or not, people will quit because… (read more)

Mitchell Harper (Co-Founder & Board Member @ Bigcommerce)
28 things I’d do differently next time around — Medium

Assume all resumes are B.S. and back channel at least 5 people who worked with, for and above each candidate

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Blogging is the New Resume

Blogging is the new resume. Blogging is an effective way to illustrate expertise, personality, and most importantly, thought process. The way product managers, UX designers, and other “non-technical” roles think, communicates their ability and culture fit. Resumes lack this entirely…

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

Hire people that intimidate you.

Ben Foster (Currently advising 10+ companies, 16 yrs PM/UX experience, VP Product at Opower, PM at eBay)
The Best Personality Type for Product Management – PM Rant

If I were forced to hire based on Myers-Briggs alone, I would hire my first Product Manager as an INTJ. Entire U. S. population: only 2. 1% is INTJ. eBay Product Management: INTJ accounted for over 50%

Ryan Howard (Founder @ Practice Fusion)
Transcript: Protecting yourself as the founder; Ryan Howard | VatorNews

Check references. I never check any references a candidate gives me, board or executive candidate. Go on Linkedin, do the due diligence, get the real data because if you don’t, you’re going to find out the hard way.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How to test job candidates for “learning agility” | A Founder’s Notebook

How good are the questions this person asks?

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: No direction home

Can you show me a history of generous, talented, extraordinary side projects?
Have you ever been so passionate about your work that you’ve gone in through the side door? re you an expert at something that actually generates value?
Have you connected with leaders in the field in moments when you weren’t actually looking for a job? Does your reputation speak for itself?
Where online can I see the trail of magic you regularly create?

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Can you be a great business leader if you’re lazy? | A Founder’s Notebook

Clever and lazy people make good modern business leaders because they:insist on taking the time and space required to create, and to find new ways forward; are natural delegators; are always looking for simpler, easier ways to do things; focus on the essentials, and despise ‘busywork’. But perhaps a better description than “lazy” would be “always looking for scalable solutions which reduce brute labor and complexity”.