How Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer Hires Great People

May 18th, 2009 by lewis

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, talks about hiring best practices.  Here are my favorite takeaways from the article:
  • Use behavioral interviewing techniques. Steve Ballmer agrees with most hiring managers: past success is the best predictor for future success.
  • Check those references. Ignore the skeptics. Checking references is a valuable data point. References can say nice things at first, but if dig deep enough, you’ll get the real scoop on what the candidates are really like. If you still feel like you’re not getting the straight story, here’s a tip from one of my favorite Kellogg professors, William White: ask the reference to recommend more references. The idea is that the new set of references won’t be ringers for the candidate.
  • Hire for talent and passion. Talent and IQ is not enough. The person has to be passionate about the job. Why is Ballmer obsessed with passion? It’s a way to detect whether an employee will be committed, motivated, and tenacious on the job. And if you’re a Malcolm Gladwell fan, you’ll know the 10,000 hour rule: commitment, motiviation, and tenacity separates those who are succesful and those who are not.

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