Kim Scott Radical Candor podcast

Podcast Episode 21: More Time Hiring = Less Time Firing

Building a great team is critical for bosses, but how do you bring on the right people? Interviewing and hiring is so hard to do — in this episode, Kim and Russ share some of their mistakes, what they’ve learned, and advice for a better hiring process.

Listen to the episode:

The Episode at a Glance

A lot of listeners have written in to ask about their challenges with interviewing and hiring. Kim and Russ know it’s a really difficult part of management.

If you get half of your hiring decisions right, you’re batting above average.

They talk about the things that make interviewing hard — you have a limited amount of time, there’s bias involved, and you have to beat out the competition. Russ tells a story about falling prey to some of those challenges. He needed to grow a business quickly at Twitter and hired someone for a role that hadn’t been fully clarified. This lack of clarity ended up meaning that the person couldn’t be successful, and Russ had to let that person go. Kim and Russ both acknowledge that in the end, it takes more time and emotion to fire someone than to make a rigorous process up front.

Kim tells a story about learning that most hiring decisions are made in the first five seconds of meeting someone and how she tried to combat that bias. But her strong desire to avoid bias meant she ended up hiring someone who wasn’t right for the role. She advises listeners to take time to understand blink reactions, not to reject or accept right away.

Another mistake Kim and Russ have seen made is when there is a hole on the team, and people are desperate to fill that hole. Kim quotes Leslie Koch:

If you’re not dying to hire this person, don’t hire the person.

Russ shares another time when the team around him held him accountable, not letting him just fill the hole, and it was a huge success.

Next, Kim and Russ talk about a coaching situation where Russ helped someone understand whether the team needed a better training process, or whether the issues could be solved by adjusting the hiring process. Kim and Russ talk about how to make sure your hiring process isn’t incorrectly focused on getting people with specific skills (that are easy to train) rather than on getting specific intrinsic qualities (that are difficult to train).

The Candor Checklist

Kim and Russ say that a lot of training and firing difficulties can be solved with a better hiring process. Make your hiring process more rigorous with these tips:

Tip 1: Create a 3-4 person hiring panel.

Tip 2: Plan what areas you’re going to focus your interviews on.

Tip 3: Check references to verify your impressions.

Tip 4: Have an in-person 30-60 minute hiring meeting.

Get the full explanations of these tips by listening to the episode.

Related Resources

For more reading on hiring and interviewing, check out these resources:

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