Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Rough Patch

A lawyer by training, Meridee Moore is the founder of Watershed Asset Management, a $2 billion hedge fund in San Francisco. She has several good thoughts on hiring and interviewing - -

We look at grades and scores, of course, but we also give every candidate a case to work through. Also, if the person has had a rough patch in his past, that's usually good - - we look to see if you've ever had a setback and come back from it. I think it helps you make better decisions. There's nothing better for sharpening your ability to predict outcomes than living through some period where things went wrong. You've learned that no matter how smart your are and how hard you work, you have to anticipate things that can go against you.

I also look for people who have a good sense of humor - - they tend to be engaging communicators, they can be very good negotiators, and they understand the qualitative side of human decision-making.

I try to ask something that inspires the person to talk a little bit about their family. I find that guys who have had strong relationships with women - - whether it was their sisters, a teacher -- tend to be very secure in who they are and do well in our business.

The other question I ask is if they've been in anyone's wedding party. First, it means they're responsible, that someone's asked them to stand up next to him on the most important day his life. And that at least one person in the world trusts them and wants to know them forever. Those are good qualities in a person and a partner.

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