Hiring: Mistakes & Suggestions
2 min read

Hiring: Mistakes & Suggestions

Hiring is difficult.

As a leader if you can get only one thing right in your job, hiring should be that one thing.

The downstream effects of both a great hire and a bad hire are exponential, and the upside of having a great hire join the team has compounding effects.

A few months after I started interviewing candidates, I assumed I picked up the hiring skill and was good at it, and I couldn't be more wrong. I don't think you can become good at hiring quickly.


1. Trusting your intuition - Your intuition can be trustworthy only if you have years of experience to back it. Until you have put your time, your intuition is the sum total of your biases. It feels great to use it to decide on hiring; however, the probability of getting it wrong is very high.

2. A good conversation in the interview does not mean a good hire - I used to look for a flow in the conversation when talking to hires. This flow is usually an indicator of your biases in trying to find people who you like.

3. If more people in the panel say yes, the hire must be good - While this may work when you start setting up the team, this method does not scale. Having a scorecard where you have to give a score to the individual based on pre-requisite criteria helps reduce our inherent biases.

4. Fishing for the job fit vs Engaging in the conversation - This is a tricky balance to find, and you cannot afford to only one of the two.

5. Give some time before giving your hire/no hire decision - There will be a few candidates who will come across as very strong in the interviews, and you will want to process ASAP. Give yourself time; it could be hours or days based on the pace of your overall hiring process but do not make a decision based on an 'interview high'.


1. Identify the hire's passion and ask them to talk about it - The answer to this question can give you good insights into the individual. Be genuinely curious, even if you have no clue about the topic. If they are performers, then they will have a crucial eye for excellence. Here is what my boss said on this topic that sums it up so well :

Any pursuit of art or sport is an excellent confluence of focus, attention to structure and details and an eye for excellence. Needless to say, taking feedback well, thriving in the competition are also some traits among such individuals.

2. Take a corpus amount of notes during the interview - It will not be easy to do this while doing the interview, but with practice, you will get better at it.

3. If you aren't sure about the hiring decision - Ask the interview panel if anybody wants to take a bet on the individual. If nobody has the conviction, then it's recommended to reject the candidate.

4. If you compromise on the quality to fill an urgent gap -  It will help you temporarily, but it will end up doing more harm to the team in the long run. It's a tradeoff, and I encourage you not to indulge unless necessary.

5. Do not have more than two interviews in the day - You will not be able to do justice to the interview process.