Hiring Tips From Famous CEOs

December 31, 2015 Debra Auerbach

Lately, we’ve all been oohing and ahhing over Mark Zuckerberg’s photos of his new, adorbs baby; applauding him for taking two months of paternity leave; and lauding his decision to give away most of his Facebook stock to charitable causes.

Beyond sharing his sweet new fatherhood moments with us, he’s also recently shared insight into what he looks for in a hire. According to “Time” magazine, Zuckerberg revealed his one rule for hiring a new employee: “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person.”

While a simple notion, it makes a lot of sense. When hiring people to work on your team, you want those who you admire and respect and who you could see becoming leaders themselves one day.

He’s not the only high-profile CEO to have shared his or her words of wisdom on hiring. Here are additional hiring tips from some of the world’s most famous company leaders.

  • Get the CEO more involved: Yahoo’s Chief Executive Marissa Mayer has been said to personally review every serious candidate’s resume to ensure that they meet her high standards of what a Yahoo employee should be. While this practice has been met with mixed reviews, it helps to have a leader who is more closely involved in hiring decisions because they’ll likely be more understanding of the challenges hiring managers and recruiters face and more receptive to investing in ways to fix them.

 

  • Ask these three questions: Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, challenges his hiring managers to ask themselves these three questions before they make a hire: 1. Will you admire this person? 2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering? 3. Along what dimensions might this person be a superstar? These considerations speak to the core of what makes an employee successful — their fit within the company culture, their ability to challenge and push their team, and their potential to lead.

 

  • Strive for diversity of thought and style: Diversity can mean different things, according to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. He told “Inc.” that when looking for talent, “We want diversity of thought. We want diversity of style. We want people to be themselves. It’s this great thing about Apple. You don’t have to be somebody else. You don’t have to put on a face when you go to work and be something different. But the thing that ties us all is we’re brought together by values.”

 

  • Hire optimists. Disney’s Chief Executive Bob Iger told the “Harvard Business Review” that optimism is a trait his leaders need to have. That means hiring people who won’t be afraid to take risks and see failures as opportunities. “You’ve got to be an optimist. You can’t be a pessimist. When you come to work, you’ve got to show enthusiasm and spirit. You can’t let people see you brought down by the experience of failure. You don’t have that luxury. I believe in taking big risks creatively. If you fail, don’t do it with mediocrity — do it with something that was truly original, truly a risk.”

 

  • Think beyond recruiting. PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi says that hiring people is the easy part; it’s developing and retaining those hires that often proves the most difficult. And so it’s important to continue to invest in hires — both personally and professionally — once they become employees. “The only way we will hold on to the best and brightest is to grasp them emotionally. No one may feel excluded. It’s our job to draw the best out of everyone. That means employees must be able to immerse their whole selves in a work environment in which they can develop their careers, families and philanthropy, and truly believe they are cared for.”

 

Building your talent acquisition strategy for the New Year? Check out “How to Create a Winning Recruitment Strategy.”

 

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