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PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company, specializes in quick and reliable on-demand labor and highly skilled workers. PeopleReady supports a wide range of blue-collar industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics, waste and recycling, and hospitality. Leveraging its game-changing JobStack platform and 600-plus branch offices across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, PeopleReady served approximately 94,000 businesses and put approximately 220,000 people to work in 2021.

The Hiring Manager's Guide to Hiring the Right Person - Business Guides

By Adam Bryant

Illustrations by Antoine Corbineau

Over the course of speaking with almost 500 leaders for my weekly “Corner Office” series, I’ve asked every one of them, “How do you hire?” Their answers are always insightful because after years of interviewing countless job candidates, they’ve learned the best approaches to help them get right to the core of who a candidate is and how he or she will work with a team. Learn the strategies these chief executives have developed through trial and error to help you go beyond the polished résumés, pre-screened references and scripted answers, to hire more creative and effective members for your team. And if you’re on the other side of the job hunt, you can gain insight on what your interviewer is really looking for in a candidate.

Avoid the Standard Job Interview

Use these basic principles to avoid the common pitfalls of the interview.

A typical job interview is little more than a social call with some predictable choreography. A conference-room meeting, a pristine résumé and the standard questions: Where do you want to be in five years? What do you consider your biggest failure? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Add in some small talk — maybe the candidate and the interviewer have something in common, like an alma mater or an acquaintance from an earlier job — and that’s largely it. The candidate seems good, and the references check out. So an offer is made, and fingers are crossed that everything works out.

Then, a month later, the new hire misses an important deadline or starts complaining about the work. Cue that sinking feeling: You start wondering if hiring this person was a mistake.

Of course there’s a better way. Here are three principles that can help you hire the right person:

  1. Be creative. Every candidate will be prepared for commonplace interview questions. Find new ways to truly understand how a person thinks.
  2. Be challenging. Put the candidate in situations where they are more likely to show their true selves.
  3. Allow your employees to help. You are not the only person who is going to have to work with this candidate. There is likely already a team of employees you trust that will have to interact with him or her every day. Their opinion should matter.

Get Away From Your Desk

You’ll have a much better sense of your candidate if you get them out from behind a desk and watch how they behave.

The Goal

“I can get a really good sense of whether I want to be working with somebody when I walk them through the place.” —Patty Stonesifer, chief executive of Martha’s Table. 

As you’re sizing up job candidates, there are two key qualities to check for:

  • Is the person genuinely interested in the work of the organization?
  • Do they treat people as equals, regardless of their title?

If you take them out of the office or conference room to see how they interact with others, you’ll get a better sense of their personality.

Take Them On a Tour

Stay in the building and show the candidates around your company, and maybe introduce them to some colleagues.Things to pay attention to:

  • Are they asking questions about what everybody does and how things work?
  • Are they curious?
  • Do they treat everyone they meet with respect, and show interest in what they do?

For Patty Stonesifer, who now runs Martha’s Table, a Washington nonprofit, the tour is a key test for any job candidate.

“I can get a really good sense of whether I want to be working with somebody when I walk them through the place,” said Ms. Stonesifer, a former top Microsoft executive who also ran the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for years. “I’ll stop and introduce them to a half-dozen people, and see if it’s just a handshake or whether there’s some curiosity and interest.” 

Share A Meal

Take a candidate out for lunch or dinner. Going to a restaurant will reveal all sorts of clues about someone. For many leaders, this is the most important part of the interview process.

The key is to watch whether the candidate is considerate of others — an essential quality of effective team players.

Things to pay attention to:

  • Are they polite to everyone who is serving them?
  • Do they look people in the eye (a sign of respect)?
  • Are they irritated or flustered by problems?
  • Can they keep a conversation going, with smart questions?
  • Do they barrel through the restaurant, or let others go first?

“You learn so much in a meal,” said Carol Smith, the publisher of Harper’s Bazaar. “It’s like a little microcosm of life.”

The candidate’s personality comes out during a meal, providing answers to key tests for Ms. Smith: “Are you going to connect with us? Are you going to be part of the team, or are you going to be one of these independent players who wants to take all the credit? Are you good with assistants?”

Throw Some Curveballs

Unusual questions will get candidates to open up and provide insights into what makes them tick.

The Goal

“I think if someone is self-aware, then they can always continue to grow. If they’re not self-aware, I think it’s harder for them to evolve or adapt beyond who they already are.” —Tony Hsieh, the C.E.O. of Zappos

Smart candidates will be prepared for all the usual interview questions, and will try to find clever ways to turn any negatives into positives, worried that any admission of weakness or vulnerability will count as a point against them. This strategy usually backfires with chief executives, since it makes a candidate seem less honest and trustworthy.

To get beyond the rehearsed answers, many executives have developed their own interview questions to better understand what a candidate is really like.

And we don’t mean brain-teaser questions like, “How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane?” Laszlo Bock, the former senior vice president of people operations at Google, said that while the company once used those types of questions, it ultimately decided that they were a complete waste of time. “They don’t predict anything,” Mr. Bock said. “They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart.”

Here are some unusual questions that will reveal a lot about a candidate:

Interview questions to ask


A person’s natural strength is not about their current title or what they studied in college. It is a particular skill or ability that, for them, comes as naturally as breathing but that others may find difficult. Other ways to ask this question: If everybody is in the top 5 percent of the world at some skill, what is yours? Or what is your ninja skill?


This may strike you as silly, but the answer can tell you a lot, particularly when candidates explain why they chose a certain animal. If you want to test it before you use it in a job interview, try it out at your next dinner party.Ask enough people this question, and you’re likely to hear some surprising answers, and gain valuable insights that will tell you whether they’re right for the job. The chief executive who often asks this question, for example, says that if she’s hiring somebody for sales, she likes to hear a predator as the answer, like a lion. If somebody is going to be working in teams all the time, a social animal may be the right answer. The “why?” part of the answer will also tell you a lot about their level of self-awareness.


We’re all influenced by our parents, often more than we’d like to admit. So it’s a good bet that the answers to this question will reveal a lot about the candidate. You can also ask how these qualities come out in their daily lives.One chief executive takes this question a step further and asks people about the qualities of their parents they like the least. (That may be a bit too heavy for some people, though.)


The answers to this question will reveal candidates’ level of self-awareness. Do they know how they come across to others, even in ways that may not be a true reflection of who they are?This can also be a bit of a trick question, too, because what really matters is how people perceive you – in a sense, there is no such thing as misperception; in this context, perception is reality.Tony Hsieh, the chief executive of, uses this question often. Here’s what he’s listening for with this approach: “I think it’s a combination of how self-aware people are and how honest they are. I think if someone is self-aware, then they can always continue to grow. If they’re not self-aware, I think it’s harder for them to evolve or adapt beyond who they already are.”

More About Hiring

Get a Second — and Third — Opinion

Talking to other people about a candidate can help you confirm your perceptions or prove you wrong.

The Goal

“Well done is better than well said, and there’s no substitute for good referencing.” —Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Even if you think you are the best judge of character, always take the time to get more opinions because we all have blind spots.

Tom Brady, who has been quarterback for the New England Patriots through seven Super Bowl visits and five championships, was only chosen in the sixth round of the N.F.L. draft, noted Brian Halligan, the chief executive of HubSpot. “I think people overestimate their ability to pick,” he said.

Make Them Run the Gantlet

To get different perspectives on candidates, ask a number of your colleagues to meet with them. They’ll spot things that nobody else sees.

“When we’re finished assessing whether someone has the skills we’re looking for and has the experience we’re looking for, we do something we call running the gantlet,” said Peter Miller, chief of OptiNose, a biopharmaceutical company.

Mr. Miller has job candidates interact with 15 or 20 people within the company, and each has what he calls a “blackball vote” to veto hiring any candidate. Ultimately the person you hire is going to interact with many people in your company, so they all have an interest in ensuring the person is a good hire.

Go Beyond References

It may take some effort, but with a little bit of internet sleuthing, you can probably find a couple of people you know, or whom your colleagues know, who have worked with the candidate. LinkedIn can also be a helpful resource in finding references for a candidate within your social network. Always do extra reference checks — not just the ones a candidate provides. Press those people for an unvarnished opinion about the person’s strengths and weaknesses, how the candidate performs under stress, how he or she treats their colleagues, and anything else that matters to your company.

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, often reminds colleagues not to place too much emphasis on interviews. “References, and what somebody has done, are more important than what somebody tells you in an interview. Well done is better than well said, and there’s no substitute for good referencing,” she says.

Push for Diversity

Hiring an innovative team starts with finding people who think differently.

The Goal

“I’m always looking for the opposite of what I am, for the most part.” —Lisa Borders, president of the WNBA.

Diversity matters for a lot of reasons. A crucial one is that it provides different perspectives for innovation, problem-solving and creativity.

For Douglas Merrill, chief executive of ZestFinance, diversity matters not because it makes his company look good, but because it truly helps his company. With so many industries facing disruption — and companies creating new playbooks for strategy rather than following old ones — you need as many different perspectives as possible to find the best solutions. “The more perspectives you have, the more likely you’re going to win,” he said. 

Getting Past Implicit Bias

Hiring a diverse team requires pushing through the implicit biases we all have — the ones that can lead people to hire “mini-me” versions of themselves. Removing implicit bias from your hiring process starts early on and should be addressed at every step.

Things to consider:

  • Is your job description limiting you? A simple web-tool, textio, can help analyze the language you use in job descriptions to help attract the best candidates. Words like “ambitious” or “driven,” can be seen by female candidates as too masculine in a job description.
  • Are you casting the net wide enough? Experience doing certain kinds of work is important, but sometimes people with unusual backgrounds will bring fresh eyes to the task at hand.
  • Conduct an initial phone interview before you meet candidates in person. That way, initial impressions are more likely to be based on the content of their answer than their appearance.

Christopher Cabrera, the chief executive of Xactly, understands the challenge of inherent bias. Earlier in his career, he had to hire eight team members. When he was halfway through the process, his boss, who was African-American, pointed out that the first four hires were all white, 23-year-old men.

“I was so embarrassed because I certainly hadn’t done that on purpose,” Mr. Cabrera said. The lesson he learned was that we often just do what makes us comfortable.

“I distinctly remember [my boss] saying to me: ‘How interesting do you think your team meetings will be when you have 12 guys that are 23 years old, white, with the same background? Do you think that that’s really going to be a challenging and rich environment where you’re learning?’ And I just remember thinking: ‘Yeah, that’s crazy. Why would I want that?’ It really stuck with me.”

Lisa Borders, president of the Women’s National Basketball Association, said she focuses on diversity of skills in candidates.

“I’m always looking for the opposite of what I am, for the most part,” she said. “I think so many of us, because of unconscious bias, hire people who look just like us, who have the same skills that we do, to complement us. That’s not a complement at all. That’s a duplicate. So I am often looking for the person who can complement the skills I already have.

More on Hiring for Diversity

Assign Some Homework

See your candidates in action by giving them a small task to complete at home.

The Goal

“I often give the person a real problem, whatever I’m wrestling with right now, because you can learn a lot about a person that way,” —Jane Park, chief executive of Julep.

When you’re interviewing someone, you’re trying to get a sense of the answer to the question, “I wonder what it would be like to work with this person?”

So why not find out, instead of guessing?

In the ideal world, you’d be able to bring them on as a freelancer or a consultant, but that’s not realistic in a lot of cases. You can, however, give them some homework to see them in action. Not only will you get a sense of their work, but you’ll also find out how committed they are to working at your company, rather than just applying for jobs. In addition, writing samples will also give you a clear sense of how that person thinks and communicates.

I often give the person a real problem, whatever I’m wrestling with right now, because you can learn a lot about a person that way,” said Jane Park, chief executive of Julep. “Are they going to be my partner and be able to see the strategic issue as well as how to execute on it? Are they interested and engaged and curious about it?”

Put Pen to Paper

Some suggested questions to ask a candidate to answer in writing:

  • How do you plan to be successful in your first 100 days on the job?
  • How would you describe yourself in 500 words?
  • Write a proposal for a specific strategy to implement in the new role.

“I’ve found that there are so many biases that we create or imagine when we’re going through the hiring process — this person came from that school or they seem very polished, whatever the biases might be. But when you have them put pen to paper, and compare that against a field of candidates, you get a much clearer picture of how they think and work,” said Kris Duggan, chief executive of BetterWorks.

Don't Set A Deadline

Allow your candidates to set the deadline for the homework you assign. This allows you to determine their work ethic and how well they manage their time.

Mr. Duggan asks candidates to set their own deadline and then tracks very closely how well they perform relative to that. “That’s one way we can test for their behavior: Do they get it done on time, or do they make excuses because it’s late?” he said.

Trust Your Instincts

If you have doubts about a candidate, figure out why.

Once you’ve been through the entire interviewing process, and followed most of the suggestions above, you have to make a decision. What so many executives have told me is that they’ve sometimes made the mistake of not listening to the doubts they had about the person they were interviewing.

“What I’ve found from all the interviews I’ve done in the last 10 years is that whatever nagging suspicion you have during the interview process about their behavior will be magnified 10 times after you hire them,” said Mr. Duggan of BetterWorks.

It’s always a tricky balance in hiring. You may feel some pressure to fill the role quickly — the work has to be done, or you’re worried the slot may be taken away from you. So you may want to hire one of the first people you meet. On the other hand, you can’t wait forever, endlessly interviewing people to find that perfect candidate.

At some point, it’s a roll of the dice. Nobody has a perfect track record in hiring. But borrowing some of the strategies from all these chief executives should help improve your chances. 

6 things that truly happy people do

Are you tired of being satisfied with what you have? Then see how happy people can stay that way.

How do they do it? How can they be happy? How do troubles bypass them, and they come out "dry from the water"? Do they make themselves happy? Many believe that a permanent state of happiness is from the category of "mermaids and unicorns." But there are people in this world who, apart from the possibility of force majeure, have learned to be happy. Here are some of the features that are inherent in them:

1. They clearly define happiness

I have heard many people say that happiness comes from children, other people, society, work, and so on. What works for one person may not work for another. Happiness is a personal goal that can be achieved if you know exactly what it looks like. Happy people understand what makes them so, and they can change their lives to avoid trouble. They do not hope for happiness - they do everything to get it. Try to make a list of what brings you joy, as well as what makes you sad. Then focus on making sure only the first list always works.

2. They enjoy the little things

Many people expect happiness in the future from some event, such as a promotion or winning the lottery. But truly happy people know how to enjoy simple things: achieving goals, pleasant conversations, beautiful photos, or good weather. All these pleasant moments, gathered together, make us happy. Open your eyes and look at what is happening around you. Become a curious observer and enjoy every little wonder in this amazing world.

3. They believe in themselves

So much unhappiness comes from self-doubt. Anxiety can be a good motivator for success, but it won't let you feel the joy of a job well done. Happy people stay confident and focus their time and energy on opportunities and relationships. Develop self-confidence so you can enjoy the journey to success as much as you enjoy the end result.

4. They are constantly working on self-improvement

Happy people love to grow. They simply have to constantly learn and develop their personality. When they feel that they are standing still, then they begin to actively search for new opportunities to activate their potential. Take a course of study. Books, classes and clubs will not only make you smarter, but you will also be able to meet like-minded people who will help you become a better person.

5. They have a great influence on others

Happy people have a very positive effect on the people around them. Some create a happy atmosphere by their mere presence. But there are also people who make a lot of efforts to brighten up the everyday life of other people. Become an initiator and leader. Create opportunities for others to share their love of life.

6. They give sincere thanks

Happy people recognize the grace they receive. They sincerely appreciate the people and opportunities that come their way, and show their gratitude generously. Make it a good habit for you to show your gratitude every day. At first you may feel awkward, but by doing this you will show everyone around you your love for life, and others will also understand that they have something to say “thank you” for.

Of course, I understand that being truly happy is not easy. People will spend huge amounts of money on medication, drugs and psychological help to get to a happy state of mind. But all the effort is worth it, even if you move slowly. I had to endure many setbacks and several decades of struggle to make the changes necessary for a happy life. But I can't think of any reason to go the other way, so come join me on the happy side.

The first publication: 2014-01-13


  • Career and self-development

Key words:

  • Happiness
  • Career


  • Kevin Daum



  • Tatyana Gorban

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What makes us human?

Humans have a very developed sense of individuality, and the stronger our ego, the more difficult it is for us to connect with other people. However, it is the connections, social and interpersonal, that make us stronger: when we begin to see the world from the position of another person, we can discover a lot of new and interesting things for ourselves.

We understand empathy - the ability to perceive others, which makes us human.

Empathy as an area of ​​scientific interest is in the field of view of several sciences at once, from psychology and sociology to neurobiology. This is due to the fact that when we respond to the feelings and experiences of other people, we use different types of reactions - not only emotional, but also cognitive.

Empathy is the ability to feel another person, relate yourself to him, and sometimes even read someone else's emotion. In fact, by showing empathy, we establish a psychological and emotional connection with another person, blurring the boundaries between "I" and "he". Empathy belongs to the category of human cognitive abilities, just like the ability to imagine scenarios for the future or solve problems based on previous experience.

Empathy vs. empathy

However, empathy is not our only weapon in our arsenal of reactions to other people's misfortunes: people also tend to feel sympathy. And although these two abilities look very similar, there is one clear difference between them.

When we experience empathy, we seem to imagine ourselves in a situation (however, this can be argued - see below) similar to the one in which the other person found himself, and accept his experience in such a way as if we were experiencing it ourselves. However, the key point is that in reality we do not experience real feelings: we model them.

When we show empathy, we take on someone else's experience in the same way, but this time it affects us - we are so touched by someone else's experience that in response we experience our own emotional reaction: we feel bad, we worry, or, conversely, glad and happy for the success of another.

Empathy itself is also divided into categories, there are two of them - emotional empathy and cognitive empathy, depending on what type of reaction we show. We respond to it semi-automatically and begin to experience emotional empathy. At the same time, our feelings are not mirrored: if someone fell and, for example, broke his leg, we model and take on a certain share of someone else's suffering, but not physical pain.

In the case of cognitive empathy, the trigger is usually conscious attention to the other person's feelings. It is cognitive empathy that is implied in the framework of the development of emotional intelligence: a person is invited not only to respond to someone's pain, but to make efforts to understand it. Cognitive empathy is an attempt to look into another person's head, recognize how they feel, and, let's not hide it, use it to your advantage as much as possible. For example, to predict the reaction of a person to our proposal and, depending on it, build a negotiation strategy.

How do we empathize?

In an effort to better understand the mechanism of empathy and answer the question "How does it even work?" Neuroscientists and sociologists have come together to develop two theories. Interestingly, these approaches to the nature of the formation of empathy are opposite to each other and science has not yet given a concrete answer about how empathy works. So both theories are just assumptions, which, however, should be taken into account.

The first approach is the theory of simulation, whose proponents believe that in the moment of empathy we imitate the emotion of another person, actually imagine how we would feel in the place of a person, and rely heavily on emotions, and some will even say that on fantasy .

The second approach is the theory of mind, according to which we do not live in a world of our own fantasies about other people's feelings, but rely on concrete facts. Thus, when showing empathy, we are based on our idea and past experience about how a person should feel in similar situations. That is, we use thought processes to explain feelings and actions.

Why is this needed?

It is necessary to know about the mechanism of the formation of empathy, if only from a noble desire for enlightenment, but empathy itself is needed in order to be human. We can safely say that empathy is the building material of human morality. Thanks to her, we live and exist in society, without which, as you know, we would not have survived as a species (what is there, animals tend to huddle in flocks!).

A person who does not suffer from psychopathic spectrum disorders begins to show the first signs of empathy at the age of two or three years. However, despite the natural predisposition to develop empathy, what its manifestations will be (hug or nod sympathetically on the sidelines) and how often we openly allow them to ourselves depends on upbringing, culture, environment and even genetics. However, while certain “norms” may limit our responses, research shows that people tend to show the same level of empathy throughout their lives. Or rather, the one that he developed by the end of adolescence, and from this point of view, it is very important when raising children to encourage their ability to empathize and help loved ones.

Developed empathy makes us successful members of society, it is a key component in human, social and psychological interaction at all stages of life, because it helps us understand the needs and intentions of other people.

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