Now, I don't usually work in that field and I had a hard time finding anybody like that. Most of the people I called didn't even have a university education.
Now, your wife was the Executive Assistant to Steve Jobs. And you've hired executive assistants, yourself. How do you find good people like that?
Craig: Well, you need someone who isn't just waiting for you to land things on your desk. They know how to be proactive. So, I look for signals of that in other things they've done in their career or in other areas of their life.
Animal: You've got to give me an example.
Craig: One of the people that I hired that I thought was great was involved in college in saving one of the buildings that was going to be torn down by having it designated as a historical landmark.
I started asking her, "How did you do that?" and she told me how she organized the project and put together events and documented everything and I said, "That's what I'm looking for. Someone who can organize and create events and document everything. But I've also made some mistakes in hiring executive assistants for myself.
Animal: Do you want to give us an example of a mistake?
Craig: Do I want to? Well, I hired a gal who interviewed really, really well but then somebody else showed up for the job.
Animal: How can that happen?
Craig: I think a lot of people interview really well. And, I was in a hurry and I didn't do things a couple of things that I really am a huge fan of. Number one, I think you have to interview people multiple times. I think it gives people the opportunity to screw up. So, you can't just bring them in, interview them, hire them.
And I think I did that in this case. You've got to say, "Come back on Tuesday," and "Call me at 3:00." Give yourself an opportunity to see some other sets of clothes that they have. Have them call you so you can hear them on the phone. Ask them to show up at a certain time and see if they are on time. That type of stuff.
The other thing is I believe in using a group of people to help you interview for positions. So maybe using somebody else's executive assistant, maybe the receptionist, maybe one of the sales people. Getting opinions from different people. Although I'm going to make the ultimate hiring decision, I think it's smart to say, "You focus on this skill and just talk to her for an hour about computers. And that's it." And you talk to her about work environment and managerial style. And that's it. And then you get deeper conversations and more information.
Animal: But what was it that made you think she was great that wasn't true? Can you tell me in one minute?
Animal: Okay. So going back to that interview with Todd. You didn't get that job, did you?
Craig: I did, actually. I got that job although I didn't get it at the level I wanted. He made me take a notch back in my title and work myself up to where I really wanted to start.
But I learned some great things from him. His name is Todd Everett and here's one of the things he taught me. I'm really good at finding problems. I used to run into his office and say, "Aha, I've found it!" And, one day, he said, "Craig, do me a favour. You're hitting the nail on the head when you discover these things. But from now on when you're halfway here I want you to stop and figure out what the solution is and if you can fix it you don't even have to tell me about it. And, if you can't, let me know what you think some of the solution should be."
Animal: How did he talk you into taking a job you didn't go for?
Craig: First, we talked about a lot of things so he learned about where I was in my life. I was engaged at the time. He also learned that I had some entrepreneurial bones in my body. So, he made some concessions as did I.
I was able to negotiate some stock in the company which I didn't think I would be able to do, initially. So, although I started in an individual contributor role instead of a manager role I came in with a piece of equity and that was something that was very important to me. So there was a trade-off there.
Source: 50 min mark, The Recruiting Animal Show, 07.10.24