Hiring a person that doesn’t work out hurts growth, profitability, and morale. For certain positions the outcome of a bad hire can be much worse. One method of interviewing that has a high degree of success is known as Topgrading (book on Amazon). The book is a massive tome that covers many excruciating details and is worth skimming. Overall, the concepts and methodologies are sound and should be understood by entrepreneurs.
Here are some general comments on Topgrading interviews and process:
- Much more time and thought should be put into the hiring process. If you’re going to potentially spend thousands of hours with a person, shouldn’t you spend more than an hour or two interviewing them?
- The core tenet of Topgrading is the chronological in depth interview. Start from college, regardless of stage of career, and ask deep probing questions of the college experience as well as each job. Find out how the person thinks and why they moved from position to position.
- For each and every single job, ask about the following:
Start and end date
Starting and ending compensation
Roles and responsibilities
State of affairs when joining
Results and accomplishments
Mistakes and failures
Most enjoyable and least enjoyable aspects of the job
Circumstances that led to change of jobs
Manager name and phone number
Manager strengths and weaknesses
What manager would say about candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
Names of direct reports, their strengths and weaknesses, and rate them A through F
- After the jobs review sections ask questions about the following:
- Plan on three to fours hours for this interview and take breaks every 90 minutes
Topgrading is great because it forces much longer and more detailed conversations to not only understand a person’s background but to also understand more of the how and why as opposed to just the what.
What else? What do you think of Topgrading interviews in a startup?