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How Google and Airbnb Hire the Right People When They Have to Build Teams Fast

You need the right people to grow a business and you often need to hire them fast

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BY Alison Eyring - 10 Aug 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

When you're scaling a business, there are times when you need to hire people fast, really fast, but this runs the risk of building the wrong team.

If you want to grow a business successfully then you need to surround yourself with people who can both perform and transform. They need to be very comfortable with ambiguity because their job will inevitably change.

The world's most successful high-growth companies have some interesting strategies to make sure they get the right people such as purposely starting the first phone interview 15 minutes early or late to gauge how flexible and committed the candidate is or involving or making sure something something goes wrong in a presentation to see how the candidate thinks on their feet.

Here are two ways to build the right team when you have to hire quickly:

1. Over-hire into new roles

Airbnb 'over-hires' for new roles - this means purposely hiring someone who is over-qualified for a new role so that they can grow and define the new position. Then after about 6 months the 'over-hire' hires the 'perfect' candidate for the role and they themselves move on to a new more senior role.

2. Try then buy

When Sheryl Sandberg was building Google's ad sales team, she practiced the "try then buy" strategy. Sandberg told Reid Hoffman on the Masters of Scale podcast that she needed to hire very quickly for roles that did not yet exist.

It made sense, she said, to hire people on short-term contracts and review them after three months to see if they were a good fit. They needed people with Internet ad sales experience, which at the time was an emerging skill.

Sandberg said this method had the added bonus of them hiring lots of people they would not have otherwise done so under normal circumstances.