Here is an invaluable hiring tip I recently heard on Noah Kagan’s fun and irreverent podcast. Mr. Kagan, an early Facebook employee and Silicon Valley superstar, was discussing how to easily “2x” your business with his guest, Jonathan Siegel (another Silicon Valley superstar).
The tip: Don’t ever hire A Players. They are impossible to come by and way too expensive if you can find them. Everyone wastes way too much time and effort trying to find them. Or, employers go without badly needed help while waiting for the perfect A Player.
Instead hire future A Players, and train them. I of course loved this advice b/c this is exactly what we do at JVM, and it is a huge competitive edge.
Mr. Siegel puts all applicants into one of four quadrants, based on Skills (job related) and Teammate Value.
I. UPPER LEFT: Highly Skilled, Bad Teammate
II. UPPER RIGHT: Highly Skilled, Good Teammate (A Players)
III. LOWER LEFT: Unskilled, Bad Teammate
IV. LOWER RIGHT: Unskilled, Good Teammate
You never want to hire people in Quadrant I (Skilled, Bad Teammate), but you can use them as consultants, per Mr. Siegel. Many companies hire from this quadrant out of desperation, and it invariably hurts culture and productivity.
The “perfect people” in Quadrant II (Skilled, Good Teammate) are rarely available, as mentioned above.
Run from Quadrant III (No Skill, Bad Teammate).
Hire everyone from Quadrant IV (No Skills Yet, Good Teammate). They are much easier to find.
The key of course is learning to spot applicants with potential. At JVM, we focus on congeniality and academic skills, as we mention often.
The other requirement is a training program of some sort or a willingness to train. Many people are afraid of the time commitment, but we have discovered it is absolutely worth the effort.
If you want to see an entire roster of A Players hired almost entirely from Quadrant IV, please check JVM’s team here.
Final note: Please ignore the first two photos on the team page (of Heejin and me), as we fall solidly in Quadrant I (skilled, bad teammate). There are many employers who loved our resumes but sorely regret hiring us :). Never focus only on skills, no matter how badly you need them.
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