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We Compiled Iconic Leaders’ Hiring Advice, So You Don’t Have To

You posted the job requirements, you’ve reviewed the resumes, but when it comes to making the best hiring decisions for your company, you can never be too prepared. Even some of the most successful business leaders have run into making the wrong hires. Years of trial and error and learning from mistakes has led to a broader understanding of finding the right employees.


To save you the time and energy in hiring quality candidates, we’ve compiled some of the world’s most iconic business leaders’ hiring advice that can hopefully help you through your hiring journey.

Hire Someone You’d Work For - Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook

“I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person… if Facebook just disappeared and I had to go find something else to go do, then I’d be happy to go work for that person.”


Mark Zuckerberg’s advice should resonate well with business owners and leaders. Look for the candidates that you feel would be someone you could potentially learn from and work alongside. An old hiring adage is to always hire people who are smarter than you. When interviewing, ask questions that give you better insight for the person’s knowledge and leadership skills. If they are someone you could see yourself working for if the roles were reversed, consider adding them to your team.

Cool, Curious, and Connected  - Mindy Grossman, CEO, WW

“I hire for the human first, and then the resume, to a degree. There are table stakes for me. Humanity, values, a clear path that someone has taken, where they've made thoughtful and strategic decisions, not just to get that one leg up necessarily. That they've been able to take risks, and sometimes rebound from them or sometimes they've not been successful but then they've course corrected. That they're very honest and transparent about that.”

The CEO of WW (formerly Weight Watchers), Mindy Grossman, only hires people that she finds interesting, thoughtful and curious - or cool, curious, and connected. She feels that people who are all of these things are not only multifaceted but are most likely interesting enough to have a large network. The benefit of hiring someone with these traits is that it’s almost like hiring multiple people. Really get to know the person you are hiring by asking them questions that require them to open up about some of their greatest accomplishments outside of the office and who they know.


Are They Happy? - Barbara Corcoran, CEO, The Corcoran Group

Real estate mogul and Shark Tank Investor Barbara Corcoran is as experienced as they come when looking to hire good employees. During an interview with The New York Times, she mentioned that the best way to field employees is to ask them about their family.

“If their family couldn’t give them a positive attitude, there’s nothing I can do that’s going to change it.”

This advice came from the discovery that people who are good at their jobs, aren’t always pleasant people. If someone doesn’t light up when talking about things most people love, then they may simply not be a happy person. Corcoran also noted that having “just one unhappy person in a pool of 20 happy people, you feel that weight.”

Expose Them to the Team - Steve Jobs, CEO, Co-Founder, Apple Inc.

“When we hire someone, even if they are going to be in marketing, I will have them talk to the design folks and the engineers.”

The late Apple Inc. co-founder and CEO had one mission: have other employees get to know how interviewees operate. It should come as no surprise that Apple Inc. is a collaborative work environment, encouraging all team members to work together on business strategy and process to create new and efficient products.

Steve Jobs encouraged job candidates to speak to a dozen key team members across his organization in order to truly size up how well they work in a team-centric company. Interviewing for a design position with head engineers could help Jobs hire people who could talk the talk, and walk the walk. Experienced candidates have been turned down for job opportunities even if one interviewer had concerns.

Culture Over Everything - Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos

Zappos has been known as leaders when it comes to company culture. They have a pretty extensive culture assessment where they ask behavior-based questions to determine whether or not the candidate is a good fit for them. The questions that they ask focus on customer service, how they embrace change, how they communicate, whether they are open minded or not, are they eager to learn more, and even if they feel they’re fun to be around.

“We’ve actually passed on a lot of smart, talented people that we know can make an immediate impact on our top or bottom line but if they’re not good for our culture then we won’t hire them for that reason alone.”

Look At Their Character - Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don't have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it's true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”

Warren Buffett believes integrity is the most important character trait. Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing moral uprightness in all that one does. It’s admitting when mistakes have been made, even when it comes at a cost. If an employee can’t hold themselves accountable for their own actions, they can’t be relied on to help build team trust. People without integrity are also not individuals you would promote into a leadership position. In fact, a 2016 study proved that integrity is the most important leadership attribute as it is a representation of a manager’s character.

Personality is Key - Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

Like Buffet, Richard Branson hires based on personality, saying,

“Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner.”

Branson also notes that people’s full personalities may not come out in interviews, but it’s important to use your own judgement of character. Don’t get fully hung up on qualifications, when you have the right mix of people on your team, you are sure to see growth and success. He has also said in the past to not hire friends. Instead of pulling from your friend and family base, it is imperative to make sure you hire qualified candidates who meet the criteria of your specific job requirements.

It’s Time. Go Global.

There is no better time than now to consider global expansion. Our years of experience entering global markets can ensure you have the research to support the decision, along with a strategy to successfully implement. For more information on our global business development services, contact us via email (hello@castusglobal.com) or submit a form on our contact page.


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