The more I’ve done it, the more I realize that what most people think of as the hard parts of hiring—asking just the right question that catches the candidate off guard, defining the role correctly, assessing the person’s skills—are less important than a more basic task: how do you see someone, including yourself, clearly?
Seeing people clearly—or at least more clearly—matters not just when finding the “best” hire, but in identifying the best role for them.
Hiring can be an art form. When you see people clearly, you see the transcript of their conversation with reality up until that moment of your meeting, and you glimpse the horizon that stretches out ahead of them. And then sometimes you can help them overhear themselves and overhear what the world wants from them, whether or not that includes working in the role that you had initially imagined for them.
There are three parts to expanding your ability to see people more clearly: seeing your own reflection in the window, seeing the elephants in the room, and seeing the water.