Our company, 60 Decibels, is going to be doing a bunch of hiring in the next six months, so I shared this article with our team:
I particularly appreciate both the list of the 20 traits and the practical interview questions for each trait. As interviewers, we often do a poor job of assessing whether a person is right for a job (and whether the company is right for that person). This is because most of us interview infrequently, so we give little thought about how to do it well or we’ve gotten comfortable doing it the way we always have and stick with what’s familiar.
The reality is that there are few things more costly—in terms of money, time and culture—than bad hires, so it’s worth investing the time to try new ways to interview.
But wait…there’s more.
If you squint, you’ll see the other side of the coin: this list is also a helpful guide for what makes a great team member.
Here are the 20 traits of great hires / team members. They:
- Embrace change and exhibit adaptability
- Can get their team to open up (remotely)
- Care about empathy
- Tell true tales of failure — not humble brags
- Keep DEI top of mind
- Sell the team, not themselves
- Look for ways to improve processes and reduce administrative burdens
- Challenge the defaults
- Can iterate and introduce change
- Focus on outcomes, not (just) shipping
- Will help you avoid bureaucracy
- Apply a long-term lens
- Are fueled by curiosity
- Are clear on the things they don’t want to do.
- Exhibit thoughtfulness
- Can point to a pattern of taking initiative
- Show a need for speed
- Are good at spotting superpowers
- Demonstrate a knack for finding the 10X — not 10% — improvements
- Can tell you what you should be looking for.
As I spent time with these 20 traits, I found myself bucketing them into five categories:
- Flexible, moves fast, avoids bureaucracy: 1, 11, 17
- Takes initiative, is curious, is always trying to make things better: 7, 8, 9, 13, 16, 19
- Empathetic, values diversity, is humble, communicates & connects with others: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
- Keeps an eye on the big picture: 10, 12, 20
- Is self-aware: 14, 15, 18
These five categories are an excellent jumping off point for what makes a great team member and, consequently, the building blocks for culture.
(Bonus: here’s a google doc with my cut-and-paste of the 50+ interview questions from the article. I hope you use it.)