Getting the Right People On the Bus

September 21, 2015 2:36 pm Published by

Getting-the-right-people-on-the-busIf you’re a fan of The Rockefeller Habits, as I am, you know that one of the things that approach emphasizes is “Getting the Right People on the Bus”. In other words: Who you hire really matters. And according to Topgrading, the cost of a bad hire is 15 times his or her annual salary. That’s huge! So how do you make sure you’re hiring the right people?

Angela Ahrendts is the Senior Vice President of Apple Retail. She’s hired a person or two in her career. She recently shared a bit about the process she uses when interviewing potential candidates. You may not be in the exact same position as the Sr. VP of Apple Retail, but it’s worth considering the general approach she takes toward getting the right people on the bus. You can read her complete post here, but let’s take a look at an overview of the four areas where she focuses her attention.

  • Me vs. We: Ahrendts attempts to get some insight into candidates’ character by looking at how big their ego is and what role it plays in their everyday life. She asks questions to see if they focus their energy on being an individual contributor, or on connecting and enabling a wider group. She tries to determine if they care more about their own success or about the greater good of the whole company.
  • IQ vs. EQ: Naturally we want to hire smart people, but there’s more to the story. Ahrendts tries to gauge the balance between intellect and emotion by asking questions that highlight if candidates typically think first or feel first. Is their instinct to use their head of trust their gut? Both are valid and she tries to find out what the balance is.
  • Left Brain vs. Right Brain: Companies need both creative and analytical people. But how do you know whom you’re hiring? Ahrendts asks question that zero in on whether someone leans more toward analysis or instincts. She also wants to know if a candidate gets into details, or carries on a more conceptual conversation. She wants to know if potential employees are linear thinkers or creative thinkers? And can they use both sides of their brain?
  • Vision: It’s also important to know what kinds of things influence a candidate’s thinking. Ahrendts wants to know how much they look to the past for trends as well as how aware are they of the things that influence business today. She’s interested in their vision of the future and what changes will need to be made to keep up. Plus she wants to gauge their attitude toward change. Do they fear it or embrace it?

Maybe your company isn’t as big as Apple. Maybe you’re in a completely different industry. But these lines of thought (and the questions that go with them) can help you get the right people on your bus—and move your company forward.

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This post was written by Chuck Kocher