• Jock

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

If a salesperson can't sell you into giving them the role during an interview, then they are the wrong person in the first instance.

I've been sold twice into giving people sales roles when they ended up being absolutely terrible, but just nailed the interview process.

The question is, how do you truly get to know and understand a person and how they work before you hire them?


You should call a potential employees references 100% of the time, the issue generally is that they have been pre-prepared and are going to say all of the best things possible about the candidate.

So how do you ask questions to get the truth, or to put them in a corner where they have to admit things?

- Try asking about the mistakes they had made during their last role?

- What things annoy you about them?

- Have they had official warnings?


Tough questions.

I believe it is really important to see the real personality behind the front.

I've tried:

- Religious questions

- Philosophical questions

- Tried to bait them into speaking badly about their previous employer (red flag)

- Asking about working extra hours without extra pay

- Fights they have had with teams before



The golden rule is the 'rule of 3'.

If you give someone an offer (1) and they come back with changes (2), you make the changes (3) and send it back and they ask for more changes... CUT YOUR LOSSES RIGHT THERE.

This is the ultimate sign of a difficult employee. Imagine when you have to fire them - the kinds of difficulty you are going to have, or when they start to think they deserve a pay rise?...

Regarding pay and bonuses. Unless you have gone out to poach someone, I think everyone should buy-in at less than their market salary and negotiate performance upside. Incase you haven't realised, there is no penalty for an employee doing a shit job except losing the job and not putting you on the reference list!. Whereas the penalty for you is an enormous amount of time, energy and cash spent on terrible outcomes - only to have to restart again.


3 months MINIMUM. The bigger the role the longer the honeymoon period in my opinion. During this time they can be 'let go' on the spot. This is where they should be earning their spot on your team.

The ones that count.

1. Commitment questions - When companies are in trouble, there is a really nice technique to see who on your team is truly bought in....

"I'm not going to be able to pay you for X time because of cash shortages - so you can stay on for that time without pay and then ill give you equity and back to normal pay afterwards".

Here you will see who leaves on the spot and who is there for the long run. (I wish I tried this earlier rather than hustling to make more money to pay staff).

2. Do things during the interview process that happen in the business.

Maybe in your line of business customers yell at you often? Try and organise this to happen during an interview, see what their reaction is.

3. Test their social activity and their thoughts about being hungover at work.

The shore-fire way to know you have an employee that is not 101% in, is one that has a big social life.

4. How do they manage their time/ activities

This staff member MUST be highly organised with either a calendar/ monday / trello etc. No high-performance team ever ran off to-do lists.

5. How do they manage overwhelm?

Not sure how to test this, hopefully one of you reading can let me know!

6. How do you get them to do something that blows you away / i.e something out of nothing

The most invaluable employees are those that don't need to ask you how to get something done, they just seem to make the impossible possible. Ask them to do something seemingly impossible in a short period before your interview. Such as completing a research document etc. The best employee I ever did, took a high-level pitch document and turned it into an extensive presentation before our first meeting...!

7. Be incredibly open and direct.

Make sure that your expectations are as clear as day about everything, even things you aren't meant to talk about, they are going to come up sooner or later anyway.

I realise in hindsight that much of this post is in quite a negative stance, however the underside of things is always much harder to find-out and much worse when you do. Just like when you are validating an idea, clear all of the assumptions before jumping in!

*P.s all of my posts are first drafts, my researcher will buff them out - so make sure to write in and ask for extensions or explanations if you are interested.


Updated: Aug 7, 2019

Type 1. Lusts for acknowledgement of innovation, leadership and that all absorbing word - genius. Type 2. is what this post is about, the 'Rainmakers'.

I know first hand the suffering that comes with the need for acknowledgement and the desire to become the first or the best at something. However throughout my journey I have been able to meet other entrepreneurs that seem to have a different drive.

A drive to create value and extract money out of that value.

Type 2. 'The Rainmaker' sits on the same end of the spectrum as Type 1. The 'spectrum' in this instance portrayed with the left side as people who can 'smoke ciggies and watch the grass grow' and the right side as the 'Elon Musk, don't sleep type'.

Describing the Type 2.

Anthony Pratt. Actually to be honest I don't know anything about him except he founded Visy the cardboard company and is the richest person in Australia. What I do know is that a Type 1 would rather neck themselves than turn up and flog cardboard everyday, so that makes him a Type 2.

Type 2's do the small things right, and often. They make the 1%'ers count and stack up - for the long term.

They let their bank account do the talking. What is important here, is that the bank account doesn't represent the future value of the 'next big thing' or the post-money valuation of their incredible technology business, it represents opportunity and hard-work paid out daily.

Cash is king.

Why you should hire the Type 2.

You know how you hire someone (for pretty much any role) and then you have to teach them all of the systems you use, the best practice of 'inbound marketing' (for example), help them create the first set of posts, review them, change them and then ensure they are distributed correctly? Seems like you've done it all yourself, while dragging someone along with you.

Best case is - after that first run-through, they can do it on their own and improve - but that's rare.

Here's where Type 2's come in. A Type 2 has already done all of this before for their own venture, so they know what to do. All you are doing is literally giving them the KPI, making sure any key rules or guidelines are set and then reviewing the final work before it get's shipped.

T2's will listen intently to what you say and how you do it, challenge you and themselves and improve the entire process so that the next time the outcome is even better.

Here's the challenge ( if you consider it a challenge) - They will finish the work you give them, quickly and well - so you either need to create an enormous stack of things for them to get through - or - you can give them overarching KPI's and decision making guidelines and let them go ham.

Where to find the Type 2.

Where they should have come from.

A T2 should have already built and sold, or failed with something substantial (doesn't matter how many times). The reason is, if they have built something previously - they have already done and experimented with most of the things you will want them to do.

An example of a type 2 that has just taken a role with an organisation I know.

This organisation needed someone that could basically take on an entire equity crowd-funding campaign;

- Find the equity crowdfunding parter

- Build the IM end-to-end

- Promote it

- Run and organise the community events

- Follow up all of the commitments

This person ran 100 hour weeks for 3 months and successfully completed the full campaign, solo. It would be impossible to find someone with this diversity of skillsets and drive to complete a campaign like this unless they were one of the founders or a T2.

What you should offer a Type 2.

Freedom - work their own ours, work towards outcomes not tasks, no micro-management

Cash - on their own (consulting etc.) they could likely do $200k/pa

Upside - no upside, no extra work

Why do they want to work for you?

The entrepreneurial journey is a rough ride and often on the back of failed ventures, entrepreneurs are left with a hangover of-sorts. Most of us need a break from the risk and the 24/7 looming pressure - so some safety with freedom is a great tide.

Where do you find one?

Look at the Fin review or Courier Mail for stories of business failures?

Don't be afraid of hiring entrepreneurs, just make sure you understand their situation and current mindset. They will get itchy feet again. So make the most of them for the 2 years you can have them for and then go find the next Rainmaker.

*P.s all of my posts are first drafts, my researcher will buff them out - so make sure to write in and ask for extensions or explanations if you are interested.