How to hire lots of people exactly like you.

Jessica Zwaan
5 min readNov 25, 2020

Because you know you are fucking awesome, bro.

Everyone keeps harping on about diversity. It never ends, am I right?

YOU got where you are by pulling up your OWN bootstraps. You worked hard at school to get into the Russell Group Uni your dad went to. And sure it’s somewhat beneficial to your interests that he makes donations to the alumni network, but if it weren’t for your dry wit you developed through your private public-speaking lessons, you’d never have broken through in the networking meetings you went to while your peers were busy working some rubbish part-time jobs.

Look — You think you’re pretty great. All of your ex-McKinsey consulting colleagues used to say you were the smartest person from your graduate intake class, definitely smarter than those “quota kids”. They were a bunch of squares anyway, they never came to the ‘Spoons after work to bask in the glory of your electrifying intellectual debate surrounding the most recent Joe Rogan podcast.

If only there were more of you, you’d be killing it. — by: Ramiro Pianarosa on Unsplash

So why would you look around at other people? Why lower the bar?

Besides, if you could hire more of yourself, you would — you can’t rely on anyone else. Last time you brought someone in who cared about diversity they told you your awesome unpaid internship (with plenty of exposure and experience) was “unethical” and “bad for culture”. Not exactly a data point to hire more diverse if you can’t even test if diverse candidates are any good by paying them nothing. (They should be grateful for the chance to work at your company, really.)

In fact — it’d be great if there was finally some advice for how to hire a bunch more people exactly like you. 💡


Posting job ads is expensive and takes too long. Besides, you already know anyone who is anyone through your killer network of VCs and 25-year-old-CEOs. Trust me, you know anyone who is anyone, and if you don’t? Well, they probably aren’t worth hiring.

If your new professional network fails you, it’s always a good idea to dive into your own family — do you have a cousin or brother who could do the work for you? No matter if they haven’t got experience, they’ve got the genes and your trust: you can buy experience, you can’t buy the raw materials.

While you’re here — remember to always treat your referrals with absolute priority. If your recruiter brings you candidates from other sources (less valuable, no doubt) it’s best to be immediately suspicious and let them know they need to prove your original position wrong. Who are these people? Randoms from the street? No thanks, not in YOUR team.

Conversational vibes

Once you’ve brought your referral in for interviews it’s best to make sure you have them meet as few people as possible.

It’s weird, actually, every-time you seem to add more people into the process they are always complicating things with contradictory feedback to yours. It’s a real buzzkill. Best to avoid that entirely by skipping them from the process. If they don’t trust your benevolent judgement they can jump in the lake; you don’t need to suffer their harping on.

Instead, what’s important is to hook this candidate up with one (maybe two at most) people who are in your inner circle (you know, the ones you do coke with on the weekend). When you arrange the meetings always make sure it’s really clear to everyone this is just an “informal conversation”. No interview necessary. Asking a bunch of anal-retentive questions will just scare your mate off, anyway.

Go get a beer

Now that I mention it, you’ve never had an interview in a pub that you didn’t like. Pre-offer conversations (what you’re calling these “interviews”) are a good opportunity to start bonding as a team, and there is no better place than back at the local brew-bar you like to head to after work with your nearest and dearest. Get a few drinks in, loosen up.

Remember that funny story from your Senior Director of Sales Operations’ “interview”? You remember, when everyone got so drunk your COO/Brother ended up flashing his dick to the cab driver? Classic.

If you don’t finish these “interviews” convinced you’d be able to withstand a week together camping at Glasto’ there is no way this hire will work out.

Listen to your gut

This is the absolute barometer for a successful new joiner to your team. In fact, I don’t think you could even think of a single time your gut has been wrong about anything.

If you get a weird ~vibe~, or the person seems kind of dull, naggy, stupid, or — worst of all — like some kind of SJW who’ll give you grief… end things right there and then.

I find a good measure is:
1: I instantly thought this person was a buzz-kill — no hire.
2: This person seemed pretty boring, not a fit.
3: This person was ok, I’ll ask around some mates what they think.
4: An absolute legend. Do we have a C-suite role for them?

Backdoor references

If you’ve given your candidate a 3 on the barometer for success above you’re going to want to verify your gut feeling by calling around to a few other mates who you haven’t spoken to for a few years (but were absolute legends at uni) and ask them what they think. Their opinion really matters, it’s not relevant if they only worked with this person peripherally, or they have a history of sexual harassment and rocking back up to work after 6 pints — their opinion is as good as yours.

Drop them a Whatsapp and ask, “Oi — long time no see (we should get a pint soon). You know XYZ from Deloitte right, what ya ‘rekon? Legend or nah?”

Happy hiring!

In case you cannot tell, this post is satirical, and I think hiring a diverse and dynamic workforce through thorough and methodical recruitment practices is the best way to build a successful business.

If you want to hire well, do the opposite of everything in this post.

If you are working with someone who had you nodding along while you read: I am so, so sorry. How about you tune into There’s This Thing at Work? It’s a place where myself, and a panel of really experienced Leaders give advice on how to deal with difficult situations at work just like this one.

Check out There’s This Thing at Work: where we give you the advice you need to hear, not what you want to hear…
Me and my cat, looking professional

I am a person and I like to think I am good enough to do it professionally. So that’s what I do. I’m a hands-on Chief People Officer. I find my joy in diverse, kind, and world-changing companies of excellent people, which is why I am at Whereby, where our mission is to give people freedom to live and work where they thrive. (How fantastic is that?)

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Jessica Zwaan

G’day. 🐨 I am a person and I like to think I am good enough to do it professionally. So that’s what I do.