This is who you should hire next

Last week published a post to explain why everyone in your startup should have stock options. 

In it I mentioned that CEOs have 3 main goals:

1- Build a great team.

2- Set the vision.

3- Make sure there’s money in the bank.

I know, I know: you’ve heard it many times over, as a CEO you’re always recruiting… But who should you be looking for?

I’ve hired great people over the years and I’ve hired not-so-great people too (which means I’ve had to fire people as well). As the old saying goes, “hire slow, fire fast.” If candidates fail to deliver, I’d rather see them go sooner than keep them around.

When I was hiring the first person to help me with FounderFuel (this person later became Program Manager), I wrote a blog post that described the person I was looking for.

Among many other things, in it I wrote:

A “Jack/Jane of all trades” interested in Startups, Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Technology, etc.
– Ready to take on any task.
– Self-driven and proactive.
– Eager to learn and meet new people.
– Someone who likes to work hard and play hard.
– Available days, evenings or whenever needed. 

While I still think these are a things that make for a great candidate, over the years I’ve refined my criteria of things that I look for in all candidates, no matter what the role. In my opinion, these are things that apply just as well to C-Level people as they do to entry level roles.

Here are the top five things that get me excited about a candidate:

1- Proactivity
I want people to challenge the status quo, to bring ideas to the table and to make decisions. This is a mindset that leads to new things, and ultimately helps the team evolve and innovate.

2- Attention to details
I believe the difference between good and great lies in the details. Without a shadow of a doubt, details are what elevates your game, but remember, they should never interfere with speedy execution. The challenge is balancing the two.

3- Strong communication
I like people who email fast and email often, both internally and externally, and people who do their best to respond to emails within 24 hours. I want team members to share their thoughts with me, colleagues and partners, because nobody will hear them if they don’t speak up. 

4- Trust
I hire people for their skill-set so I trust they’ll make the right decisions. I believe in the person and I expect them to take full ownership of their work.

5- Metrics driven
I fully embrace the build, measure and learn mantra, but I’m also a big believe the strong product development and optimization requires 1) quantitative data, 2) qualitative data and 3) gut feeling. I look for people who believe in all three.

Ask for forgiveness, not for permission.

Those few words pretty much summarizes it all for me, and the culture you build should live and breath it.

A startup is meant to move fast and you’re most valuable asset is time (for lack thereof), so you most certainly don’t want people to wait for direction. 

Too many people are scared to make mistakes. There’s no harm in making a mistake, in fact there’s more harm in not doing anything for fear of making a “faux pas” than making a mistake. Errors will happen, they are inevitable, and learning from them are how your startup will grow.

Agree? Disagree? What do you look for in a hire?


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