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A Billionaire’s Hiring Process: Tips from Ray Dalio

Establishing the world’s largest hedge fund was a momentous achievement for American businessman, Ray Dalio

The Bridgewater Associates founder built a company that now has $169 billion in assets and he believes his dream became possible because of his philosophies on life and management. In 2011, Ray Dalio published ‘Principles’, which shares his secrets for success and how to find the right employees for your business.

‘Principles’ details how Mr Dalio built his business into the empire it is today and contributes to his belief of truth and transparency in the workplace. This manual sets out his hiring process and what an employer should look for in a candidate.

With such a successful firm behind him, these philosophies are clearly not to be underestimated. Dalio stresses how important it is that businesses hire the right people for their company from the beginning; otherwise the consequences can be disastrous.

Mr Dalio believes that recruitment should be about finding someone that you respect and can identify with. To find this candidate does not necessarily mean looking for those with experience or skills; Dalio values a person’s character and way of thinking over what may be written on their CV.

For example, in vacancy descriptions for Bridgewater Associates, logical thinking and a common sense approach to problems is highlighted, as well as an outspoken personality and reflective nature.

He also emphasises that although a candidate’s track record is important, it is equally as important to analyse their references and use interviews to understand how they have made their career decisions. This creates a bigger picture in the hiring process and gives a better impression as to what that candidate can bring to the company.

During interviews, Dalio believes that asking great questions may be more indicative of a suitable candidate than giving great answers. A candidate who enquires about the company and shows an interest beyond the job description might highlight their potential to employers.

He also thinks that a different approach to recruiting must be taken to find the most suitable candidates for the job. Dalio recommends using different team members to conduct interviews based driven by what they are looking for in an employee. He says that managers may look for candidates that show similarities to their own character, which can have a direct effect on who they hire. By utilising different team members you may be able to find the particular traits you are looking for in a prospective employee.

After choosing the preferred candidate, Dalio recommends making the salary offer a premium on their previous salary, whilst taking into account their favourable attributes. This is instead of thinking about the market value of the job title and thus rewarding what the firm values from the candidate.

For Ray Dalio, his ‘Principles’ ensure that the right employees are recruited for his firm. It looks beyond a person’s CV and favours their character and personality. His overarching principle is to hire people that you want to share your life with and with the success of Ray Dalio’s business, this may be an important philosophy to remember.

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