Mark Zuckerberg has built one of the world’s most successful companies, and he seems to have gotten there by having an unconventional test for people he hires.
“I sort of have this hiring heuristic at Meta, which is that I will only hire someone to work for me if I could see myself working for them,” Zuckerberg said on a podcast with Lex Fridman. “Not necessarily that I want them to run the company because I like my job, but in an alternate universe, if it was their company and I was looking to go work somewhere, would I be happy to work for them,” he added.
That’s an unusual approach to hiring. Zuckerberg seems to be saying that he hires people he’d himself want to work for. This implies a few things — he thinks that they’re sufficiently smart, and also that he has something to learn from them. These people also share a vision that he’d be comfortable dedicating himself to. And these people would have to be aligned along his ethical and moral values as well.
It’s a pretty high bar, and perhaps is a reason why Meta has become of the most successful companies in the world. “I think that’s a helpful heuristic to have,” Zuckerberg says. “When you’re building something like (Meta), there’s a lot of pressure. You want to build out your teams because there’s a lot of stuff that you need to get done. And everyone always says don’t compromise on quality. But there’s this question of, okay, how do you know that someone is good enough? And I think my answer is I would want someone to be on my team if I would work for them,” he adds.
Zuckerberg says a similar dynamic also extends when making friends in college. “I think the most important decision you’re probably going to make if you’re in college is who you surround yourself with because you become like the people you surround yourself with,” he says. “You’re going to learn a lot from them and they’re going to push you. But also they (should) know different things and have different experiences that are kind of more of what you want to become like over time,” he adds.