How To Hire The Right People: Framework and Interview Questions

Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people. -Steve Jobs

I believe one of the things that leads to more success and fulfillment in business is finding the right team. Now I'm fully aware as a financial planner, that one of the most common difficulties advisors have, is the management of people–what they're doing in their day-to-day operations and the human resources-type of issues that come up. We're really good at being an advisor and interacting with clients and doing everything that we do. There are very few of us who are cut out to be managers of people.

But if you can find your ideal team players and hire them, those issues are greatly reduced. And the benefits far exceed the cost to getting them on board. Having a self-managed team will allow you to really focus on what you do best, what you love, and on the things that move the needle of your business the most.

In this post, I will share the framework that we follow, and also the questions that we ask during the hiring process that have led us to finding the ideal team.

As a quick history, I’ve been an advisor for over 13 years and I own Streamline Financial with Tim where we have over 250 million AUM. Streamline is made up of Tim and myself, two amazing advisors, Luke and Sean, and two client service specialists. And we’ve never had a more cohesive team in the right seats and really enjoying each other’s company than we do right now. We’re all motivated and moving towards the same goals. A key part of this is really the culture that we work to instill in our office.

The way we hire has also contributed to building the ideal team. Our interview process is made up of four meetings:

  • Introductory Phone Call
  • In-Person Culture Fit Meeting (where they meet everybody)
  • Day-in-the-Life Meeting (they actually perform the tasks on their job description)
  • Dinner (with Tim, me, our wives, and their spouse, if they have one)

This process is in depth, but it’s definitely worth it because it’s led to the team we have now at Streamline.

During the in-person culture fit meeting, we use a framework from business consultant Patrick Lencioni who discovered that the best companies have found their ideal team players by interviewing based on three virtues.


According to Lencioni, ideal team players are humble. They lack excessive ego or concerns about their status. They're quick to point out contributions of others and slow to seek recognition of their own. They share credit. They emphasize the team over themselves and then they define success collectively rather than individually. People who lack humility in a significant way are the ones who demand a lot of time and are really dangerous to a team.

Questions to Ask

Can you tell me about someone who's better than you in an area that really matters to you?

Look for the candidate to demonstrate a genuine appreciation for others who have more skill or talent. Humble people are comfortable with this. Ego driven people are often not.

Describe your current team. What do you like? And what do you dislike?

By asking a team-related question, it may be apparent if he or she values the team effort and is willing to do what's necessary for the good of the team or if they're more individual focused. Encourage the candidate to describe specific interactions with colleagues and experiences of working on a team.


Hungry team members are self-motivated and diligent. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.

Question to Ask

What kind of hours to you generally work, or do you want to work?

Hardworking people usually don’t have to work nine-to-five unless there is a unique life situation that demand it. Balance is important, and we definitely have that at Streamline, but if the candidate needs a predictable schedule and talks too much about balance or focuses a lot on the hours that they’re expected to work, there’s a chance that they’re not terribly hungry or ready to be a team player.


You want to know if your candidate is smart, not just intellectually smart, but do they have emotional intelligence. People high in EQ have good judgment and intuition around the subtleties of group dynamics and the impact of their words and actions.

Questions to Ask

Have you ever worked with a difficult colleague or boss? How did you handle that situation?

By asking a candidate about difficult work relationships, you’ll learn if he or she can read situations in people and handle them skillfully.

What is something you do that people in your personal life might find annoying?

This is kind of funny question, but it’s helpful for figuring out if they have EQ. Everyone annoys someone sometimes, especially at home. Smart people are not immune to this, but neither are they in the dark about it and they tend to moderate their behavior at work.


If you’re not hiring anyone right now, try asking one of your colleagues or employees a few of these questions to see what sort of response you get and if you can identify the virtues of humble, hungry, and smart.

If you are in the process of hiring, here’s a link to Lencioni’s full guide so you can look for those virtues that are essential to hiring your next ideal team player. We have found it so valuable and helpful at Streamline, and I hope it will help you too.


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