Thoughts on Business #294: Hire them for who they are, not what they’ve done.

February 22, 2024

I hire for personal attributes, not for resume or education. I don’t have a college degree – I went to four different colleges before dropping out to become a full-time drummer – let alone an MBA. In fact, I’ve often wondered whether having an MBA would have been an asset or a liability.

I think not having an education has freed me up to go with my gut, and it’s worked so far. It’s sort of like the new guy at the poker table — the fact that he has no idea what he’s doing actually makes him kind of dangerous to the other players.

That said, I don’t not care about experience and education when I’m making hiring decisions, but they’re far from the biggest pieces of the puzzle. As an example, I’ve never had an employee who majored in events in college. I certainly wouldn’t mind it, but most of the qualities I look for when adding to our close-knit team aren’t teachable.

I look for people who have the right kind of work ethic and sense of responsibility, the kind of people who can’t go to bed knowing there’s one tiny detail out of place.

I need the kind of people who care about the work and care about doing it well – the first time. A one-page CV, however impressive, can’t show me that they do.

Other hiring decision-makers – have you brought people onboard who were “severely underqualified” on paper? What sold you on them?