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A self-made millionaire and CEO shares 5 'quick tests' he always uses during job interviews to decide whether to hire

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Robert Reffkin, Founder and CEO of Compass
Compass

I never did that well on tests in school. But there are a number of simple tests that I've found helpful throughout my journey as the founder and CEO of a billion-dollar real estate technology company.

Having these quick tests in your back pocket helps you make smarter business decisions. Why? Because the more we think about something, the more our minds will try to play tricks on us. We second-guess, we let doubt and fear creep in, we hesitate, we overthink. The purpose of the five tests below is to get past all of that and get back to the truth that you've known deep down all along.

This is especially true regarding two of the most important decisions that managers at my company, Compass, make: When to hire someone, and when to pass on them.

1. The 'good person' test

Is this a good person?

If you have to take a long pause and struggle to answer this question, then they shouldn't be on your team. Lots of people think goodness doesn't matter at work — and some even think it's a liability in business. Not me.

I always want to know: Do they live by the Golden Rule? Is their heart in the right place? Are they kind? Do they genuinely care about others? Do they want to give back? If everyone we work with is a good person, we'll all be better off.

2. The 'energy' test

Does this person give me energy, or take it away?

Achieving great success is all about energy, and you can usually get a strong sense of a person's energy during the job interview process. You'll dream bigger and move faster if the people you're collaborating with give you energy, rather than drain the energy out of you.

So when you're figuring out which people to work with closely, find the ones who make you excited to come into work each morning. They'll help you bring out your best self — and, odds are, you'll do the same for them.

3. The 'another offer' test

If this person came to me tomorrow and told me they had a great offer from another company, would I fight to keep/win them over?

This test helps you admit that someone isn't excellent, and it originated from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. He believes that excellent people are much better than "pretty good" people.

As the motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." So if you want to be better — like I know all of us do — one of the best ways is to do that is to make sure you're surrounding yourself with exceptional people.

4. The 'rationalization' test

Are there strong results to back up this person's value and worth?

If your key argument for someone is not related to actual results, you're probably trying to rationalize something you shouldn't be.

An example of this is when people say, "This person graduated from [X school] and I think would be really good for our culture." I do believe that culture is incredibly important, but if a person was truly extraordinary, you'd say, "This person has had significant impact in their [current and/or] previous roles. They have done [X, Y and Z]. We clearly don't want to lose them."

5. The 'principles' test

How well does a potential hire embody each of my principles?

The idea of "culture fit" can be a code word for discrimination. If you ask people to prioritize culture without defining your culture, there's a risk that they will gravitate toward people like them. It's another trick our minds play on us.

At Compass, our culture is entrepreneurial, so whenever I'm hiring or doing interviews, I evaluate people on how well they dream big, move fast, learn from reality, are solutions-driven, obsess about opportunity, collaborate without ego, maximize their strengths, and bounce back with passion.

Robert Reffkin is founder and CEO of the real estate technology company Compass and author of "No One Succeeds Alone: Learn Everything You Can From Everyone You Can." Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

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