Vivek Ravisankar

Raising the bar

June 6 2017

We all want to hire great people. Hiring is a skill. It involves two parts – selling the candidate on the opportunity & the ability to assess in a short amount of time. I believe the height of ambition is a direct function of this skill. I have documented almost every interview I have taken in the last two years and what I learned from each of them. I’ll publish a blog post on that later. However, if there’s one pattern that obviously stood out it’s the mistake of saying ‘yes’ when you are a ‘maybe’. It’s obviously tempting because you are in pain without the hire and you see a painkiller right in front of you.

How to resist the temptation? Here are 3 questions that have helped me clear my mind:

[1] Will I be OK if there were 50 people in the company like this candidate?
[2] Will I be OK reporting to the candidate?
[3] If there was no budget allotted for this role, would I fight to make one for this candidate?

I do #1 & #3 for all candidates. Question #2 is usually reserved for execs. Hiring is a game of increasing the odds of success and this has certainly helped me. As Robert De Niro says in the movie Ronin, “Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt”.

There was one candidate who was a ‘maybe’ and I would have said ‘no’ to #1 but ended up being a great performer. In a constant pursuit to master this art.