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How Not to Hire Losers: 3 Rules

Ian Bell, a Vancouver entrepreneur in the Tech sector, has a different take on interviewing: he trusts that others in the organization have tested and checked the candidate’s basic level of skills, and that they can do the job with a little training. In the interview, he only tunes in to the "soft" stuff.

In an interview with Profit Guide, he lays out the 3 key things he pays most attention to:

  1. Avoid one-dimensional dullards. According to Bell, winners can spot losers. He scans each résumé looking for interests, hobbies and left turns that make them interesting, well-rounded people. He looks for the human behind the résumé, not the jobs they did. Once in the interview, his goal is to find their passion and get them talking about it. That’s when the real person shines through. He calls it ‘letting their freak flag fly’.
  2. Avoid dispassionate clock-punchers. He looks for people who really want to work with him, and who can express why with clarity and conviction. He’s not interested in people who are looking for income to pay the bills (‘classic loser behaviour’); there must be a deeper affinity.
  3. Avoid people you wouldn’t befriend. He doesn’t hire everyone he likes, but he only hires people he genuinely likes and wouldn’t mind being stuck in an elevator with. Shared attitudes and standards are key to getting things done with a minimum of friction, and he spends a lot of time getting the chemistry right.


These tactics have obviously served Bell well in his time at Apple, Cosco, Telus, and now in his growing tech startups.

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