In a 2015 interview with CNN,  Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, spilled his secret for hiring great employees. “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person,” Zuckerberg said. The rule has served the company well, as it continues to expand and dominate the social media space.

Companies are only as strong as their employees, which is why hiring is such a crucial step. When assembling a stellar team, it helps to have some tricks up your interview sleeve. Zuckerberg isn’t the only successful business leader to disclose their hiring secrets. Small business owners can benefit from their hard-won lessons and apply them to their hiring process. Here are five other tips from renowned business experts.

Hire For Your Weaknesses

No matter how talented, you can’t do it all. A good leader recognizes their deficiencies and hringhires to close the gaps. That’s the advice of Richard Branson, the famed British business magnate, whom himself was inspired by Spanx founder Sara Blakely.  In a LinkedIn post, Branson furthered this idea, writing, “Don’t be afraid of hiring mavericks. Somebody who thinks a little differently can help to see problems as opportunities and inspire creative energy within a group.”

Hire For Their Strengths

On the flip side, while you’re hiring someone who can bridge your gaps, make sure they’re they also strong players. You don’t want to have to spend too much valuable time on instruction or checking over their work. This was the driving force behind hiring at Apple under Steve Jobs, who looked for “A-list” players. He recommended going for quality over quantity when hiring because a small group of elite employees can often do more than double what a large group of mediocre workers can.

Hire For Their Direction

Remember that hiring doesn’t happen in a vacuum. As a company, everyone hired will have to fit into a structure, getting along and working with others. Jeff Bezos, the power behind Amazon, stresses the need to keep this in mind during interviews. The CEO has three questions he asks when screening new employees, including “Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?” In other words, will they bring down or bring up your existing team? Are they going to add energy and drive? If the answer is no, move on. If the answer is yes, snatch them up!

Hire For The Team

hiringOn that note, former head of Merrill Lynch and co-founder of Ellevest, Sallie Krawcheck advises hiring with the team in mind. She feels that too many look for ‘point guards,’ not realizing that those standout personalities can fatally disrupt the collective. In a Linkedin post titled “How I Hire,” Krawcheck wrote, “Ask the question ‘How do you hire?’ and you most often get an answer that concludes with ‘and that’s how I find the best person for the job.’

“That’s not how I hire. I don’t look to put the best person in the job. Instead, I look to put the best team together.”

Hire Because You’re Having Fun

To quote Jon Steinberg, President of News at Altice USA and Founder/CEO of Cheddar, “It never gets better than the interview.” In a post from 2013, Steinberg elaborated on this theme. “The process of negotiating and hiring someone is a microcosm of what your working relationship with them will be. If you are having fun and like the cadence of hiring and negotiating with someone that you are recruiting, you will love working with them. If you find the person slow to respond, uninspired in their responses and ideas, or unpleasant in negotiations, let me assure you: it never gets better.”

Steinberg uses the analogy of a courtship. If dating isn’t enjoyable, you probably shouldn’t marry the person, no matter how “qualified” they seem to be. This advice holds for working as well and can help you decide if you’re still on the fence.


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