On Hiring: Beyond The Interview

“The First 90 Days” Test

  • Thoughtful about talking with the right stakeholders and when — align with your team on who they’d expect to see on the candidate’s list and when they’d expect to meet with this new hire within the first 90 days
  • Organized and realistic about what can be accomplished in 90 days — align with your team on what you’d expect
  • Asks good questions to get a feel for the assignment — shows they are comfortable with getting clarity on situations (not arrogant)
  • Articulates assumptions made (if any) — often a requirement of leadership roles and demonstrates strong communication skills
  • Cites examples from conversations they’ve had with team members/research they’ve done on the company, market, etc. — demonstrates they listened, interested and have taken the time to understand the opportunity

Engineering and Design Tests

  • Asks good questions to get a feel for the assignment
  • Articulates assumptions made (if any)
  • Able to explain their work and creative approach; approach aligns with how your team operates and/or offers new ideas that will expand the possibilities for your team/product
  • Comfortable receiving feedback; bonus points if they’re willing to riff on the idea and take it to a better place.

Scenario Tests For Functional Teams (Marketing, Sales, Product, etc.)

  • Demonstrates research they’ve done to prepare the assignment
  • Including people on your team they may ask to speak with to prepare their preparation
  • Presentation skills — both oral and written. Focus more on content and less on pretty graphics on presentation decks unless that’s an important element of the role
  • Articulates assumptions made (if any).
  • Scenario solution is thoughtful, logical and realistic — align with your team in advance on what this would look like
  • Bonus points if they add insights that the team can learn from (e.g., I once had a VP Marketing candidate tell us what was broken with our SEO and how to improve it as part of his presentation of a hypothetical scenario. It was brilliant!)

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Julia Austin

Julia Austin

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Senior Lecturer @HBS, Executive Coach, Founder GoodForHer.co, Advisor & Angel Investor. Former CTO @digitalocean, VPE @vmware & @akamai. Mom, Artist & Yogi.