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Naive hiring
Naive hiring
It takes patience and skill to hire the right people. Busy entrepreneurs can easily be romanced by the applicant who says, "I work hard and I'm a fast learner. I just haven't had the right opportunity."

Here's the trick to smart hiring: Call references, ask them the right questions, and listen hard to their answers. Key question: "If Bob is so great, how come he doesn't work for you anymore?" I want to hear this kind of reply: "Bob is brilliant. I'd rehire him in a second, but his wife got transferred." A long silence at the other end of the line tells me this candidate isn't worth my while.

NEXT: Fear of firing

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LAST UPDATE: Jun 02 2009 | 3:58 PM ET
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