Hiring Lessons By Jack Ma From Alibaba

Jack Ma Yun is the co-founder of Alibaba Group – a multinational conglomerate. Alibaba group’s market capital for the year 2018 was over $499.4 Billion. Alibaba also features on the Forbes list of the world’s best employers.

Jack Ma has been named one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes several times. He is also considered a global ambassador for Chinese business.

Jack Ma had his own share of struggle when he started his career. He was rejected by several firms including KFC when he was looking for a job. He applied for Harvard Business School ten times and was rejected.

In 1994 when traveled to the US, he was introduced to the internet by his friend. He thought the internet had much more to offer. Later, next year in 1995 he raised a small capital of $ 20,000 to start his first internet company which would build websites for Chinese companies.

Though it was a small beginning for him, today, Alibaba employs about 60,000 people. Jack Ma always speaks about his experiences when he was building Alibaba. He often speaks about how he brought people together, the mistakes he made.

We often think about how to hire the best talent, how to identify your best employees and we may struggle to find answers. Hence, we did a bit of digging to bring you some of the hiring lessons he shared in different engagements.

Here are some of the hiring lessons shared by Jack Ma.

Hire People That Are Better Than You

Jack Ma believes in hiring smarter people than himself. He says “If you look at the person and think he could be your boss in next 5 years then hire him”. He believes if you are hiring a person who is not better skilled than you are then it’s not a good hire.

Jack Ma sharing his experiences in the area of hiring, entrepreneurship

“If you think he will be your boss in five years, hire him”

No Best People

Although today, Alibaba is an e-commerce giant with thousands of employees all over the world, Ma always mentions that he doesn’t like to hire the best or expert people. He thinks, being an expert or best reflects their past work or skills. When you start new, it’s always a fresh beginning.

“School teach knowledge, while starting businesses requires wisdom. Wisdom is acquired through experience. Knowledge can be acquired through hard work.”

He believes that the best people are in your company. You hire them and you can train them to be the best. According to him, you need to hire the right people who understand the vision of the company.

Related – Top Candidate Sourcing Strategies To Hire Best Candidates

Hire People With Good Emotional Quotient (EQ)

According to Jack Ma people with a good emotional quotient make good leaders and good team players. Ma also emphasizes IQ as it helps employees know what they are working on.

MBA or Elite College Graduates Not Necessary

Ma prefers hiring people that are not always from elite colleges. He thinks college elite could easily get frustrated with real-life problems.

Similarly, he does not think of business school graduates or MBAs are always required. According to a passage in TechInAsia, he thinks it is difficult to train MBAs unless they forget what they learned at school.

“School teach knowledge, while starting businesses requires wisdom. Wisdom is acquired through experience. Knowledge can be acquired through hard work.” 

Jack Ma

Hire Optimistic People

Jack Ma believes in being optimistic as it could help you change challenging situations into favorable opportunities.

“As entrepreneurs, if you’re not optimistic, you’re in trouble,” Ma said. “So the people I choose, they have to be optimistic.”

We think the lessons shared by Jack Ma are going to be a great inspiration and guideline for all hiring managers, recruiters, entrepreneurs. We know that people are the biggest asset to any company. Hence, we all want to hire the best people for our organizations. It is always good to know how today’s biggest leaders have built their organizations and how they brought people together to work towards the same goals.

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Amit Gawande

Amit Gawande is a Co-Founder of CVViZ, an AI recruiting software. He has more than 15 years of experience in software development and leading large teams. He has built products using NLP and machine learning. He has recruited engineers, programmers, marketing and sales people for his organizations. He believes in using technology for solving real-life problems.

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