Ray Dalio's Hiring Process | Process Street Ray Dalio’s Hiring Process – Process Street

Introduction to Ray Dalio's Hiring Process:

Ray Dalio's Hiring Process

This Ray Dalio's Hiring Process template from Process Street is engineered to provide an actionable use case based upon Ray Dalio's book Principles

Ray Dalio is the founder of the world's largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates

Over 40 years, Bridgewater has grown from one man in a home office to servicing over $160 billion in assets for 350 of the world's largest organizations, from McDonald's to central banks. 

The way this empire was built up was through an unorthodox cultivation of company culture. In our post which asks the question "How does a hedge fund work?" we explore the relationship between processes and principles as outlined by Ray Dalio himself.

The three templates we've constructed to give actionable examples of the content of Dalio's book are:

Throughout this process, you will find each task - where relevant - is accompanied by a direct quote from the relevant section of the text. 

You can use the form fields throughout to record information which will be stored upon each run of the checklist in the template overview tab.

Record checklist details

Use this section to record the details of the checklist for reference purposes. 

Think through what you are looking for

Think through exactly what skills, values, and abilities you are looking for. 

Many people, when recruiting for a specific job, will look for a person with the skillset of the job in question. 

While Dalio recognizes that this is important, he also warns against prioritizing this too heavily in the hiring process. Every hire you make impacts upon your company culture and it is vital that you work towards keeping this in line with your principles. 

Use the form field below to make notes on what kind of person you want to hire as well as what skills are required. 

"Weigh values and abilities more heavily than skills in deciding whom to hire. Avoid the temptation to think narrowly about filling a job with a specific skill. While having that skill might be important, what’s most important is determining whether you and they are working toward the same goals and can work in the same ways and share the same values."

Write the job description

Write the job description as if you were writing the profile of the ideal person. 

This way, you are not just expressing an interest in hiring someone to perform a task but someone to join the team. The extent to which you value the people in your company is reflected in how you advertise for further people to join the company. 

Write the job description in the form field below. 

You can find an example job description taken from the Bridgewater Associates website below the form field.

Management Support Associate

We’re looking for the next generation of people to help Bridgewater improve how our business operates. Our Management Support professionals work with various stakeholders across the company including our managers and investors to help make Bridgewater world class.
 
Management Support roles span across many different roles and levels of seniority but share a number of common key elements:

  • Solving complex problems with the ability to communicate effectively to ensure the team achieves its goals excellently
  • Thinking independently, questioning things that don’t make sense, and taking ownership of initiatives in an organized fashion
  • Ability to connect your role and your impact to the larger picture of your team goals and its role within Bridgewater
  • 2 to 5+ years of experience in an analytical support role, project/program management, business analysis, general management, or strategy consulting
  • Individual drive and the ability to apply common sense and logic to solve problems
  • High degree of organizational aptitude to meet tight deadlines and maintain high quality work
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely
  • Eagerness and openness to learn and evolve quickly
  • Ability to juggle multiple assignments at the same time
  • Strong ability to work independently and efficiently, prioritize multiple tasks, and execute reliably
  • High degree of discretion and confidentiality on all business matters

We seek diversity of thought and encourage applicants from all backgrounds to apply. No prior experience in finance is required.

Responsibilities

  • Partnership with managers and/or team members to:
  • Drive projects related to specific department goals
  • Support process improvements by managing project deliverables and timelines
  • Project and/or Program Management

Select interviewers who fit the job profile

Pick interviewers who most closely resemble the profile you have defined for the role. 

Part of Dalio's philosophy in regards to staff is that people pick people like themselves because they value qualities they possess highly - be it consciously or subconsciously. 

Use the form fields below to identify three interviewers you think would be right for the role.

Use the final form field for notes on your decisions, in line with Dalio's philosophy of Radical Transparency.

"For example, if you’re looking for a visionary, pick a visionary to do the interview where you test for vision. If there is a mix of qualities you’re looking for, put together a group of interviewers who embody all of these qualities collectively. Don’t choose interviewers whose judgment you don’t trust (in other words, choose believable interviewers)."

Perform personality assessments on the applicants

Dalio is a strong believer in the importance of acting on data. One form of data you can use in relation to staff - particularly new staff - is personality assessments.

You shouldn't necessarily act on personality assessments alone, but you should use them to factor extra data into your decision.

You can use the form field below to upload a database of assessment results, or enter the URL of a cloud hosted collection.

"These can be a fantastic tool in your arsenal for quickly getting a picture of what people are like—abilities, preferences, and style. They are often much more objective and reliable than interviews."

Review a candidate's track record

Review the candidate's track record for a real-world demonstration of their talents. 

One measure of seeing what a candidate will do in the future is seeing what they did in the past. It is important to measure their previous achievements in order to get a fuller picture of the candidate. 

For younger candidates, this will be a more limited means of assessment but equally could help highlight special people. 

Ask candidates why they did things not just what they did

The natural next step from reviewing a track record is to analyze it. 

Some people may want more specifics about achievements or more detail about how things were done. 

For Dalio, however, the emphasis is less on what or how and instead on why. It's great to see that someone was successful at something - but why they chose to do it and why they did it in that particular way tells you more about them as a person. As such, this is a better way of drilling down into what motivates a person and therefore acts as a better predictive tool for future behavior. 

"Knowing what they did is valuable only in helping you figure out what they are like. Understanding the “why” behind people’s actions will tell you about their qualities and as a result, what you can probably expect from them."

Assess candidates' academics if directly relevant

A further part of the filtering process revolves around looking at academic achievements. 

This will always be more important for some candidates than others. A young candidate will have to lean on their academics considerably more than an experienced candidate with years in the industry - or even just in the workplace in general. 

For Dalio, academic attainment can be indicative of intelligence or skills, but it is of limited use when trying to understand whether this person would be the right fit for the company. 

"Memory and processing speed tend to be the abilities that determine success in school (largely because they’re easier to measure and grade) and are most valued, so school performance is an excellent gauge of these. School performance is also a good gauge for measuring willingness and ability to follow directions as well as determination. However, school is of limited value for teaching and testing common sense, vision, creativity, or decision-making. Since those traits all outweigh memory, processing speed, and the ability to follow directions in most jobs, you must look beyond school to ascertain whether the applicant has the qualities you’re looking for."

Sift through all reviews and references

It's important to make sure you're hiring the best person for the role, not the person best at interviewing for the role. 

As such, it is useful not just to look at past achievements but to inspect the relationships that candidate has maintained in their previous employment.

Reviews and references - ideally recent and professional - provide insight into how someone works in a team, how they relate to others, and how they cultivated their reputation. 

"Don’t rely exclusively on the candidate for information about their track record; instead, talk to people who know them (believable people are best), and look for documented evidence."

Perform the interview

Dalio doesn't give a step by step breakdown of how to conduct an interview. 

There's an obvious reason for this. 

Through his focus on these principles he has chosen the right people for this particular role and he wants to see the human connection which can be created between those interviewers and the interviewee. He does provide three rough bits of advice:

  • The best candidates will interview the interviewer
  • Get to know the person
  • See if you can Get in Synch

For Dalio, it is all about the importance of building that human connection. Any candidate who has made it to the interview stage is likely qualified anyway - the point now is to see if they fit the team. 

Use the form field to upload collated notes on different candidates.

"Look for people who have lots of great questions. These are even more important than great answers." 

Make your final decision

When you make your decision, don't just choose the person who seems right for the role - choose a person you want to share your life with.

Use the form field below to identify the final choice and their contact information.

"The best relationships are long-term and based on shared missions and values. Also, turnover is generally inefficient because of the long time it requires for people to get to know each other and Bridgewater. Both the people you work with and the company itself will evolve in ways you can’t anticipate. So hire the kind of people you want to be with on this long-term mission."

Contact the successful candidate to congratulate them

You can use the email widget to inform the successful candidate of their employment offer.

Pass the details on to HR to begin onboarding

You can assign this task to a member of staff from HR to give them the details of the checklist, or you can send over all the available materials separately. 

We have a Process Street onboarding checklist which you can use for this use case also: Employee Onboarding Checklist

Forgive yourself

Finally, forgive yourself.

Because you probably haven't hired the ideal candidate. That's life.

"Recognize that no matter how good you are at hiring, there is a high probability that the person you hire will not be the great person you need for the job. Continue the “interviewing” process as intensely after they are on the job as before, and don’t settle."

Sources:

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