Hiring the right people in your business is possibly the single most important factor in achieving success. Yes, external and other factors (some outside of your control) play a huge part too. But the right people can take those factors and make the necessary adjustments to help your business grow and thrive.

This point seems to have more consensus than the method by which you filter and evaluate those prospective hires. The book Topgrading, for example, recommends lengthy interviews to get at the heart of a candidate’s true potential.

But Chip and Dan of Made to Stick fame argued recently the exact opposite point – that interviews are largely worthless (at least in terms of predicting future performance), and that work samples, job-knowledge tests, and peer ratings of past job performance are far more valuable.

Read here to see more of their point and a few examples.

I don’t think there’s a right answer leaning exclusively on either side of the argument, but focusing on work samples and the like first will likely serve as a time-saving filter on candidates that clearly don’t make the grade, and weren’t worth your time to interview to begin with.

Focus your time on the remainder, and you’re far more likely to be speaking primarily with candidates who can make a difference.