Interview tips for CEOs of small companies

I was teaching a class at the UW last night and we had a interviewer from a big company come in to talk about how to conduct an interview. It was a great class and got me thinking about recruiting.  I've long seen recruiting as a critical job of a start up CEO.  And I'd thought share some of the tips from yesterdays class.
Note: The tips below are aimed at CEOs who are recruiting SVP and VP level positions as opposed to staff positions.

  1. Write the press release for the job first. This is something they do at Amazon....and it gets you thinking about one of the key customers of a senior level hire -- the press. It also helps you "vision" the gloating you might make from a great hire....and that's what you want -- a great hire.
  2. Write a solid job description -- these aren't exercises in beuracracy or tedium. They outline by what factors you'll assess a candidate.
  3. Focus on the soft skills as much if not MORE than the hard skills. Be specific about the soft skills when you interview.  When you say you want a leader who is open and hgih integrity. What exactly do you mean? 
  4. When you intereview a candidate -- don't make up your mind in the first 5 minutes. All you learn in 5 minutes is how you react to a candidate and whetehr you like them (which is important information) You don't learn whether they are qualified for a job or might just be different than you. 
  5. Some key skills to focus on :
  • ability to deal with ambiguity,
  • a history of demonstrating good business judgement (they're right a lot),
  • ability to see the big picture AND dive deep,
  • hire and develop the best team,
  • adaptive and flexible