How To 10x Your Career Trajectory

Over the past 10+ years, I’ve asked several thousand business leaders (investors, entrepreneurs, executives, hiring managers) two simple questions: 

  1. How important is your ability to hire/assess exceptional talent?

  2. How confident are you in your ability to hire/assess exceptional talent?

The short answer—regardless of whether you are a zero-to-one founder, an experienced CEO/CXO of scaled-up businesses, or a top-quartile VC/PE investor, you definitely believe talent is essential. Amazingly, you also are very unlikely to have high confidence in your hiring and talent assessment skills.

Let that sink in. It’s a profound insight. 

There is a critical business process (hiring) that is absolutely make-or-break, and basically everyone believes they suck at it.

By definition, if you can get good at this hugely important thing that everyone struggles with, you will have extraordinary success in your career. 

Good news. There is a way to build this superpower. It takes work, but getting to “better than most” can be done in about 4-8 hours of focused effort. It requires learning some best practices (e.g. sourcing processes) and applying them. It requires learning some new skills (e.g. interviewing techniques) and putting them to work. 

There’s no way I will be able to share it all in 3,000 characters or less, but I’ll throw out one best practice as an example. 

From this day forward, stop asking candidates how they would handle situation X or scenario Y. Instead, guide them to a relevant story from their PAST, and ask questions about it.

Phrased differently: if you like asking questions like “How do think about…” or “What’s your approach for..” just stop it. Forever. You are inviting smooth talkers to woo you with a compelling monologue that may have no bearing on how they actually behave. 

Instead, ask them to take you to a story from their past that is likely to contain relevant content. Don’t tell them what you are looking for. We call that a “front door” question. Just ask them to tell you about an experience that is likely (but not guaranteed) to give you information about the skill, competency or attribute in question. We call this a “side door” question.

“I’d love to hear about your experiences closing some big accounts at Microsoft. What’s an example of a key customer win that stands out?”

Don’t tell them that you’re looking for relationship management skills (or CRM processes, or discipline on pricing, or SDR hiring/management). Just get curious about the stories, and get the stories behind the stories. 

BOTTOM LINE: there is a way to gain an unfair advantage as an investor, manager or leader. It involves being able to hire/assess talent better than others. And the bar is low!

We can help you make “talent assessment” your career superpower. We have a curriculum that spans role definition, talent sourcing, assessment, referencing, decision-making, selling and onboarding. If it sounds like something you want to learn, please reach out and let’s talk.

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