It seems everybody is talking about hiring, Joel has had a serie on the topic, and now just yesterday I was reading Make, and Time O'reilly was also talking about it. Selecting candidates is always a challenge. At Yahoo,
as O'reilly points out looks for candidates that are great world of warcraft players. The beliefs being that to be successful in that game, you have to have great leadership skills, etc. I think the moral of the story in selecting candidates is to bring the candidates onto a common playing field - one which both the interviewer and the interviewee understands well. In the case of Yahoo - I think the world of warcraft is just an example of interviewers speaking the same language of the interviewee in an effective matter, so that you can judge quickly the fit. For others - in our case for example it's the old problem solving game - we through code problems at our interviewee and we look at how elegant the solution is and the time it took to resolve them - we find it works well, and it weeds out the a good chunk of potential candidates. No method is fool proof, but it's about getting the process right and understood by all - so that everyone is on the same wavelength so that you zero in on the candidates that are the best fit.