Editor’s note: Managing human beings is one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever face, especially as your team grows. We spoke with six founders about what works (and what doesn't).
Last year, I needed to hire a new CEO to replace Laurie Ann Goldman, who had held the position for nearly 11 years. The first things I look for when I'm hiring for a position of leadership are passion and intelligence. Probably 70 percent of my decision to hire someone is based on the feeling I get about him or her, and 30 percent has to do with the details of the job. In a CEO, I was looking for somebody who had a real depth of knowledge in innovating products and in the supply chain.
When it comes to the 70 percent--the reaction I have to someone--I want someone who's really smart, quick, and scrappy, who sees life as a glass half full. I also believe you can learn the most about a person by the questions he or she asks or doesn't ask. So I let the candidate ask. I make sure I'm quiet for more than half of the time during our interview, and I also make sure there are a few awkward moments of silence. You usually hear the best stuff in those moments.
I also had [now-CEO] Jan Singer meet my husband, and I wanted to meet her husband. We had dinner. Meeting someone's significant other lets you see a dimension of him or her that you wouldn't necessarily encounter in an interview. You're meeting someone's chosen life partner. I've never disqualified a job candidate because a spouse was wrong. But my husband loved Jan right out of the gate. He looked at me and said, "She's a powerhouse."