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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Hold the Interview

Almost every organization I know is struggling with ‘HIRING’ issues. In Jim Collins’ eponymous ‘bus’ metaphor … it’s always about getting the right people on the bus … getting the wrong people off the bus … and then getting everybody in the right seats.

A great article on this topic, Why It May Be Wiser to Hire People without Meeting Them, by Dan and Chip Heath, authors of MADE TO STICK, was in Fast Company a few years ago (June 2009). It’s worth going back to skim through.

The Big Idea was this: INTERVIEWS are a worthless waste of time when it comes to decisions on talent.

The real nugget for me in this was the idea of the ‘SIMPLE JOB TEST.’

The Heaths even used a “nonprofit” as an example!


  • If you’re hiring somebody to write… ask them to write something!
  • If you’re hiring somebody to solve problems… ask them to solve a problem!
  • If you’re hiring somebody to SELL something… ask them to SELL YOU SOMETHING!!!

This last one is terribly important when it comes to Development Officers, Major Gift Officers, and (I would strongly suggest) when it comes to CEOs, Executive Directors and leaders. If these people can’t SELL, you shouldn’t hire them.

Special, Special Note: I urge you to take this ‘TEST’ and IDEA even further. I’m a huge proponent of bringing people on as independent contractors … for 90 days … to see if they can actually do the job!!!

This makes it really easy to see if they’re a right fit … and that they can do the job.

***We did this not long ago at a university. Here’s the brief scenario:

    Terrific candidate. Exceptional resume. A perfect fit on paper. Wowed everybody during the interviews.

    Hired as independent contractor. Given a three-month test period. Then an additional three months.

    Result: The guy is still terrific. But … it wasn’t the right fit. He found out that this wasn’t something that he really wanted to do. He will continue to work hard for the university, but as a volunteer not as staff.

    Everybody ended up winning using this ‘TEST’ model.

Something to think about.