Never delegate hiring to those managers who may see job candidates less in terms of your needs than of their own egos. The danger is what Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen calls “the law of crappy people. ‘A’ people hire ‘A’ people, but ‘B’ people hire ‘C’ people. The minute you let a weak manager in the door, they will hire individuals working for them who are even weaker…before you know it, your company degenerates.”
According to Lawrence A. Bossidy, former CEO of AlliedSignal, the best way to check on candidates’ performances is to ask their customers first and their supervisors only later.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, says that his employees have already been so conditioned to identify with customers that his company relies on employee judgments. “During our hiring meetings,” he once wrote in the company’s annual report, “we ask people to consider three questions before making a decision:
1. Do you admire this person? For myself, I’ve always tried hard to work only with people I admire, and I encourage folks here to be just as demanding. Life is definitely too short to do otherwise.
2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group their entering? We want to fight entropy. The bar has to continuously go up. I ask people to visualize the company five years from now. At that point, each of us should look around and say, “The standards are so high now – boy, I’m glad I got in when I did!”
3. Along what dimension might this person be a superstar? Many people have unique skills, interests, and perspectives that enrich the work environment for all of us. It’s often something that’s not even related to their jobs. One person here is a National Spelling Bee champion. I suspect it doesn’t help her in her everyday work, but it does make working here more fun if you can occasionally snag her in the hall with a quick challenge: onomatopoeia!!