Recruitment: Would you marry someone based on a one hour interview in a singles bar?

A reoccurring theme in the new jobs that I take on seems to be hiring new people to accomplish significant goals. Seth Godwin asks, "Would you marry someone based on a one hour interview in a singles bar?", and then explains that far too often people are hired because they interviewed well - not necessarily because they can do the job well. A bad hire can be a significant cost in terms of resource and investment spent on them that proves to be fruitless. Instead of interviews, Godwin recommends actually trialing potential new hires on the job:

There are no one-on-one-sit-in-my-office-and-let’s-talk interviews. Boom, you just saved 7 hours per interview. Instead, spend those seven hours actually doing the work. Put the person on a team and have a brainstorming session, or design a widget or make some espressos together. If you want to hire a copywriter, do some copywriting. Send back some edits and see how they’re received.

If the person is really great, hire them. For a weekend. Pay them to spend another 20 hours pushing their way through something. Get them involved with the people they’ll actually be working with and find out how it goes. Not just the outcomes, but the process. Does their behavior and insight change the game for the better? If they want to be in sales, go on a sales call with them. Not a trial run, but a real one. If they want to be a rabbi, have them give a sermon or visit a hospital.

Yes, people change after you hire them. They always do. But do they change more after an unrealistic office interview or after you’ve actually watched them get in the cage and tame a lion?

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