My Secret for Once-in-a-Lifetime Hires

How quickly do you know if someone is B.S.-ing you?

I once hired a young guy within 10 minutes of meeting him... because it only took me that long to realize he was the real deal.

I'd never seen him before. I'd never heard of him.

But I knew I wanted him on my team the first time I talked to him during a coffee break at an investment conference.

"How would you like to come work for me?" I asked him. "I'm not sure what you'll do yet..."

"I'll sweep the floors," he interrupted. I hired him on the spot.

I then had to somehow explain to my wife that someone we didn't know was moving in with us the next week... and that he was going to live in the room above the garage.

He packed up his life into his car, drove from his home in Iowa to Florida, and the rest is history...

People always ask me, "How did you know, Steve? What was it about him?"

You see, this young guy went on to become extremely successful in our business, behind the scenes...

He grew to know more than almost anyone about every aspect of our business, and he understood our customers as well as anyone ever has. Those skills turned him into a wealthy man as he approached 40.

We don't see each other much these days. He outgrew working for me pretty quickly, and I didn't want to hold him back.

But he's still on top of what's captivating our readers... Last month, he sent me a great headline from the original "fake news" site, The Onion: "Bitcoin Plunge Reveals Possible Vulnerabilities in Crazy Imaginary Internet Money."

I had to laugh at the story. He's still on top of it.

When he started out with me, he had no experience in the investment business. No kidding...

He never went to college. Instead, he read nonstop. And he traded his own money. He taught himself... And he taught himself well.

But I didn't know these things when I hired him. They didn't matter. I already knew he had everything he needed to succeed.

Here's how I could tell: He always asked the next question.

What I mean is that when we spoke, he quickly assessed all the possible answers, figured out the right one for himself, and then moved on to solving the next question.

He does that, all day, every day. That's the guy I want on my team. And that's how he's succeeded.

If someone is talking investing, I only need to hear a few sentences to know if that person REALLY knows his stuff – with complete mastery – or if he has no clue what he is talking about.

You know what I mean... If you really know a subject, then you know if someone is trying to B.S. you. One of the key "tells" for me is if they're not asking the next question.

It works the other way around, too...

Some of you know that I'm a fanatical guitar player... It's been surprising to me, but I've been fortunate to get to know some of the world's most innovative guitar guys – just like this young investment guy got to know me.

It only takes these guitar legends a couple minutes to see that I ask the next question... that I have run through all the possibilities, that I have landed on the right answer, and that we're solving the next question. Their guard comes down, and the relationship starts pretty easily.

I'm not very good at interviewing people for a job... I'm not sure what you get out of asking people if they're a hard worker or a team player.

Instead, I want to see how they react to questions and challenges. And when I find a man or woman asking the next question, they move to the top of the list.

So the next time you're wondering if someone is the right hire for you, ask yourself, "Do they ask the next question?"

If so, hire 'em! And if you're the one job hunting, start putting this idea to work...

Good investing,


Further Reading:

"I have been able to get close to many of my heroes – both in business and in my hobbies," Steve says. Two simple steps can help you strike up this kind of valuable partnership. Learn more here: How to Become Friends With Your Heroes.
Steve says one secret has helped him achieve success in life and work... "It's a simple thing, but it could have a dramatic effect over time," he writes. Read more here: How to Be Dramatically More Productive, Successful, and Wealthy.
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