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