Hiring The Right People
If you're passionate about what you do and the organization you're trying to build, hiring the right folks for the right roles becomes a critical task.
It's also a very difficult one because there's no real 'science' to the process. Sure, you can administer aptitude tests, utilize case interviews, or deploy structured screening questionnaires (among other techniques) in an effort to identify those with the 'highest propensity for success'.
But while those are all important tests that can provide specific pieces of the puzzle, there is no way to measure the most important hiring criterion: Fit.
You can hire the absolute smartest folks, but if there is no fit, there is no getting around it. Nerves will be frayed. Expectations will be missed. Emotions will run amok, overtly or, worse, covertly. No one will be happy.
But testing for fit isn't easy. You can ask all sorts of questions to get at it:
What's the best day of your life?
What are your hobbies and what do they say about you?
Tell me how you deal with change?
What's a personal or professional experience that you are most proud of and why?
You can also get into experiential situations, either asking about them or engaging in them (team building events, group-based problem solving sessions, even a simple dinner).
Those questions and techniques will get you to a point, and while they are necessary, at the end of the day, you have to, in my mind, look for one simple quality: "Genuineness".
How genuine a person is, is something you have to piece together from the totality of your interactions with the person. Something you have to add up from the different takeaways from all of their answers and build a better picture. Something you have to consider from the assessed honesty of your discussions and how they engaged with you. (Which is also why you should rarely - if ever - hire someone on the back of a single interview.)
It's not a science. At the end of the day, you have to trust your gut. You have to process all of the data that you've collected, all the stories you've been told about and by this person and ask yourself, does it feel right to hire this person? Do I have any reservations? Am I sold on this individual?
If you have even the slightest doubt, don't do it. If it doesn't feel right, just don't do it. Trust me, I've learnt this the hard way. You won't regret it.