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What Are Your Techniques for Screening Job Applicants?

The Ask an Entrepreneur series features YEC members' experiences in entrepreneurship in a Q&A format.


Question: What Are Your Techniques for Screening Job Applicants?

I'm having trouble finding great talent that will be a good fit for my team. How do you deal with screening job applicants?

Meet Our Entrepreneur: Philip Michael, Founder, NYEG

Philip Michael is an real estate investor, entrepreneur, best-selling author, and former TV/radio host (NuvoTV, SiriusXM). He's the founder of New York Equity Group (NYEG), a luxury real estate development company; author of Real Estate Wealth Hacking: How To 10x Your Net Worth In 18 Months; and publisher of WealthLAB.co.

Answer: Look for People With an Entrepreneurial Mindset

I was responsible for hiring at a company that sold for $50M and do it [hiring] now. I currently have around 18-20 people I supervise and am the main point of contact for hiring across our companies in the portfolio. And I only, exclusively, hire people who possess an entrepreneurial mindset.

Here are some tactics I used to tap who has that mindset and who doesn't:

  • Create and propose incentivized compensation packages and see how they react. Avoid clock punchers at all costs, cast them to hell.
  • If you have an internal "culture doctrine" that promotes these things, have them read it first. I have one that I send over and just observe the reaction. If they get excited, we might have something. If they ask about salary and overtime, #next.
  • Observe and gauge before they actually show up to the official "interview;" how responsive are they beforehand? How engaged are they? Are they "on it," meaning punctual, prompt, get-shit-done types?
  • In my cover letters I don't ask for boilerplate stuff. Instead, I ask, "what's your proudest accomplishment" or things of that nature. An inner entrepreneur would detail some experience of creating, or selling, or a big accomplishment, that would reveal them as just that.
  • Also, colleges and Alma maters don't matter at all. It's a mindset thing. One of my worst people came from Yale. Some of my best people had no experience