An excellent piece! Inspiring someone both short and long term is the key in recruiting. Note however despite the title, this guy is talking about how to hire, not antagonizing the two things. The key questions: would you do a startup? Would you do something amazing in 90 days, and would you something amazing 4 to six years later?
In my experience of building teams in academia, government, and industry at different sizes, I’ve found three critical questions that help an organization create that shift to focus on talent.
1. Would we be willing to do a startup with you?
This is the first question we ask ourselves as a team when we meet to evaluate a candidate. It sums up a number of key criteria:
Time: If we’re willing to do a startup with you, we’re agreeing that we’d be willing to be locked in a small room with you for long periods of time. The ability to enjoy another person’s company is critical to being able to invest in each other’s growth.
Trust: Can we trust you? Will we have to look over your shoulder to make sure you’re doing an A+ job? That may go without saying, but the reverse is also important: will you trust me? If you don’t trust me, we’re both in trouble.
Communication: Can we communicate with each other quickly and efficiently? If we’re going to spend a tremendous amount of time together and if we need to trust each other, we’ll need to communicate. Over time, we should be able to anticipate each other’s needs in a way that allows us to be highly efficient.
2. Can you “knock the socks off” of the company in 90 days?
First, the “knock the socks off” part: by setting the goal high, we’re asking whether you have the mettle to be part of an elite team. More importantly, it is a way of establishing a handshake for ensuring success. The team needs to orient new hires around existing systems and processes. Similarly, the new hire needs to make the effort to progress, quickly. Does this person ask questions when they get stuck? There are no dumb questions, and toughing it out because you’re too proud or insecure to ask is counterproductive.
3. In four to six years, will you be doing something amazing?
The four- to six-year horizon allows members of the team to build long-term road maps. Many organizations make the time commitment amorphous by talking about vague, never-ending career ladders. But professionals no longer commit themselves to a single company for the bulk of their careers. So rather than fight it, embrace the fact that people will leave, so long as they leave to do something amazing.