Sam Shank - How I Hire: The 5 People You Should Never Hire
HotelTonight, like many startups I talk to these days, is cursed/blessed with a wealth of riches in the form of resumes and job candidates. We’re fortunate enough to get a lot of interest in the roles we post, but the sheer number of responses we get means we need to be efficient about the way we approach the hiring process.
One way my team and I streamline the process is by going into it with a clear list of dealbreakers. Stay away from hiring:
The One Who Hasn’t Used Your Product
A few years back, when HotelTonight was just getting off the ground, I had an interview in San Mateo for one of our first Market Managers. One of my first questions was about what she thought of the app. Her response: To be honest, I haven’t had time to download it yet. She had time to trek down to the Peninsula for the interview, but didn’t have a few seconds to download the app, do her research and demonstrate her interest in the product and company? I continued the interview, but in retrospect, I should have ended it right then and saved both of us time.
Getting the company name wrong, not downloading their app or checking out their website, not thoroughly researching what a company does – you’d think getting these things right would go without saying, but they come up more often than you’d expect, and demonstrate a lack of attention to detail, passion for the product and industry and, frankly, respect for the company and interviewer.
The One With the Typo
Speaking of attention to detail, typos are another non-starter. Our team has received many a resume expressing a candidate’s enthusiasm for a role at “HotelTonihgt” or emphasizing their “editorail skills” (really). First impressions matter, and it’s worth taking the time (and getting a second set of eyes to look over your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn page) to make a good one.
The One With the Out-of-Date LinkedIn Profile
In many industries, but in particular the tech world, having an out-of-date LinkedIn profile just doesn’t make sense. Sharing your resume via email is great, but having a clean, updated and professional public profile is essential. Having an updated LinkedIn profile says that you value personal brand management, understand current hiring trends and are upfront about your career history. Take the time to clean yours up, get recommendations from colleagues (and write them in return!) and make yourself look enticing to potential employers. You never know who might discover you that way.
The One Who’s Inappropriate on Twitter
Our sales, customer support and marketing teams often check out candidates’ social media presence when screening resumes. Not having a Twitter account can raise warning flags, especially for these roles where interacting with the public is part of the job. But posting inappropriate, unprofessional content on your public Twitter account is obviously an even bigger red flag. If your Twitter account is public, it’s part of how you represent yourself and your company. And if you’re going to include it on your resume, make sure you’re not rescheduling interviews due to “a really bad flu” while posting about the massive hangover you have from last night’s concert (yes, this happened).
The One Who Isn’t Motivated to Do Great Things
If a candidate has no response to a question that should be easy for them to answer, it’s a good indicator that they don’t have that deep-seated motivation to do great things. Figure out what that question is for you. Why do you want this job? What would you do if you had $10 million? What kind of business would you start, if you could do anything? As for my question, I’ll leave that as a surprise for when you come interview at HT.
Of course, the list of positive qualities to look for in candidates far surpasses the dealbreakers. Enthusiasm, passion, energy, pragmatism, intelligence, thoughtfulness – these go a long way in convincing a potential employer that you’re right for the job. Sound like you? We’re hiring.
[ed: I really have interviewed people that never looked for or read any of the company website. Seemed kind of sad...]