When I first started out as a business leader, I worked alone from a home office. If I needed help, I asked my brothers or hired a freelancer I found online. While a few freelancers turned into long-term contractors, I didn’t have any full-time employees.
But after a few years, it became clear that I needed to open a brick-and-mortar office to keep up with my customers’ demands. A few of my contractors came on board full-time, ready to engage with a team face-to-face. Others, however, weren’t willing to give up the freelancing lifestyle.
I knew I couldn’t stick with freelancers forever—it was time to start interviewing candidates. I’ve come a long way from spending my 9-to-5 at home, and I’ve seen it all in the hiring process.
Over the years, I’ve found that my best employees all showed the same trait in their very first interview: a deep desire to succeed.
All of my rock-star employees share enthusiasm for our work and a desire for us to score collective wins. For them, failure is not an option, and they know they can’t be part of a winning team if they aren’t producing high-quality work.
I can tell instantly if someone is serious about our mission or just serious about making money. I prefer to speak from a place of experience, rather than from intrinsic knowledge, and I ask candidates to do the same. I ask them to discuss work they’ve done instead of facts they’ve memorized.
The way a person speaks about past projects says…