If you find yourself responsible for staffing a team, do not take the responsibility lightly. You will bring people on board with whom you may spend more time with than your real family. More than finding skilled people who fit the bill, you need to find people with whom you like to spend time.
The modern approach to hiring is more like an arranged marriage than dating. Members of the company sit in a room together and grill the candidate, call references, and put the interviewee to the test. It’s a lot like your romantic prospect’s family attending the first date and grilling you about housecleaning or parenting. Not a natural courtship process. While perhaps less “professional,” a reasonable amount of the interview process should be spent eating, drinking and hanging out with the interviewee. It’s one thing to get to know someone through his or her skills. It’s a whole other ball game to get to know someone culturally.
It does not matter whether he or she is a prodigy talent – if you can’t get along together in person, more harm will come than good. Never hire from a phone interview alone.
How do you find “datable” hires? Start by encouraging your team to invite friends. Friends of friends have a better cultural in than a random chap off the street. If no luck with friends of friends, branch out through the network. If you find someone promising, do not settle on business references alone; find a way to collect social references as well. If nothing else, take him or her out to dinner or throw a company party. Have a little fun. Make sure you can have a good time together. After all, you’re bringing on a new member to the family. Behave and celebrate accordingly.