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hiring: think backwards

Suspend Disbelief, then Think Backwards - from Bill Keating.

Suspend all disbelief, imagine that you are successful, and then work backwards.  One of the things I always do with my companies is outline what core skill areas I need and then what "imaginary" people I would want in each position.  I kind of treat it like a "fantasy football league" way of creating what the org chart would look like if we already were a successful company.  

It's a good process to follow, because as you are adding key people on board you can compare them to your imaginary best case person.  The reason why this is important is because you don't want to get caught in what I call relative positioning.  

In all of the mayhem that exists during the early stages of a company, many founders end up only comparing different candidates against each other and forget to remember a constant.  The problem is that if you only have B+ level people in your pool, but one is an A-minus, then the A-minus candidate will appear to be the one you want to hire - which would be a mistake.  The proper comparison would be to a consistent benchmark of the A+ person you need.  Although it’s easy to say that you would never hire an A-minus person in any role, it’s easier than you think to accidentally do it.  If you put a process in place to ensure that you always compare against an absolute constant imaginary best case scenario, you won’t make this mistake.

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