How to hire good people instead of nice people

What follows is an advertisement for an assistant I ran in early 2013. It goes with a story I wrote published in Quartz magazine called: How to hire good people instead of nice people. Read the story to understand what would have happened if you had responded to this ad.

Author: Brooke Allen

Founder – Viral Virtue, Inc.

5 thoughts on “How to hire good people instead of nice people”

  1. This is very true. However, individual needs to have passion for their work and that is what I look for in an employees. Someone who is not afraid to express their views and share ideas. This is very important as there is no such thing as a bad idea just different ideas. It is different ideas that may be a trigger point of innovation!


  2. Having just read your article at Quartz (thanks to Fast Company for tweeting the link), I think this is a remarkable approach to hiring. As an over-educated Westerner in the middle of a job hunt, I am encouraged to search for honesty as well as a good fit, and to act with integrity and honesty in my search. Your perspective has given me much to think about.


  3. What a great article. You should consider writing another article on sales training (I only say “you” because I’ve tried and did not say it as well as you obviously could).

    I’ve often thought the sales training teaches to act out behaviors people trust rather than be trustworthy. To do things that make people believe you care rather than to actually care. It really misses the whole point.

    Thank you for the refreshment.


  4. Bill,

    You have a good point, and I agree with it. Game designers refer to puzzles as things that are fun and have a right answer. The irony is that once you find the answer, it ceases to be fun. Games and puzzles are different. Games are story generating engines, and they can be played in many different ways. Some games might be “solved” in that you might figure out a mystery or get to the end, and you’d not want to play the game again. Others can be played forever, or repeatedly played over and over. Designers make a distinction between finite and infinite games, and life is best described not as a puzzle but an infinite game (until you die).

    There is also an interesting distinction to be made between “divergent” and “convergent” problems. Mathematical proofs are examples of convergent problems where you bring together components of a solution and solve it once and for all. In the case of divergent problems, once you bring the components together to solve a problem, without continuous effort, the solution begins to fall apart. We often make a mistake of seeking convergent solutions to divergent problems. For example, love is a divergent problem, and yet romantic stories often end in a marriages, which can be difficult to pull off, but once a marriage is executed a convergent problem is solved, and a divergent problem begins.


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