Ongig stumbled across an archived Marc Andreessen blog posting on hiring and it reminded me of Warren Buffett’s criteria for making a good hire (which I apply to all people I do business with). I though I’d contrast their two styles here:

Andreessen’s Top 3 Criteria For A Good Hire Are:

1) Drive
2) Curiosity
3) Ethics

Note: Thanks to Jed Christiansen who captured an old Marc Andreessen blog posting on his top 3 criteria for making a good hire as part of some archives of old Andreessen postings (pre Andreessen Horiowitz days) he transfered from Wayback Machine to Posterous (and Ongig’s Jason for finding them!).

Warren Buffett’s 3 Criteria For A Good Hire Are:

1) Integrity
2) Intelligence
3) Energy

I consider Andreessen’s Drive and Curiosity to be components of Buffett’s “Energy” and his “Ethics” to be the same as Buffett’s “Integrity.”

That leaves only Intelligence as the one they don’t agree on.

“Intelligence, per se, is overrated,” Andreessen writes. He points out:

“I am unaware of any actual data that shows a correlation between raw intelligence, as measured by any of the standard metrics (educational achievement, intelligence tests, or skill at solving logic puzzles) and company success.”

Andreessen admits that Microsoft and Google’s hiring criteria emphasize intelligence (Microsoft prefers those good at logic puzzles and Google prefers PHD’s), but he thinks those two may be flukes.

Andreessen elaborates on how drive & curiosity can be more important than intelligence:

Drive  — Andreessen looks to one’s background such as the business you started and ran in high school or “If you’re a programmer: the open source project to which you’ve made major contributions.”

Curiosity — “Anyone who isn’t curious doesn’t love what they do. And you should love be hiring people who love what they do.”

Buffet’s 3 criteria are more of a package deal…you need all three:

“In looking for someone to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. But the most important is integrity, because if they don’t have that, the other two qualities, intelligence and energy, are going to kill you.”

Buffet translation: If you hire a person who is highly intelligent and energetic, yet dishonest, you end up in a Bernie Madoff or Enron situation.

Rob Kelly

Co-Founder and CEO at Ongig
Ongig is the video job description platform that helps you attract the best talent faster. Ongig supercharges your job descriptions through video, images, and other media along with live chat, social sharing, and careers microsite creation. Early clients of Ongig include Yelp, GoDaddy, Verizon Digital and Autodesk.

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