How to Hire for the Early Stage Startups

Hiring for Startups
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Optimize for IQ/horsepower. Talent overruns experience in like 3-6 months and never looks back. If you love someone, but they are missing a skill, you’re better off getting them to learn it than hiring someone more skilled but with less upside.

Andrew Finn
Young, early stage founder asked for any hiring thoughts – figured worth sharing with the twitter-verse if they can be helpful. 1a) Make people do the work they are going to do for you during the interview process.
1b) People talking about work and experience is basically useless, except to evaluate whether this job “makes sense” for someone at this stage of their life – do the dots connect or not? If you can convince people to do a contract project for a month first, even better.
2) Optimize for IQ/horsepower. Talent overruns experience in like 3-6 months and never looks back. If you love someone, but they are missing a skill, you’re better off getting them to learn it than hiring someone more skilled but with less upside.
3) Optimize for low drama and ease to work with, in all ways. You want people who just want to get shit done and enjoy themselves, not people who want to bring their personal drama into the workplace.
4) People who went to the best state school in the state they are from, and were overqualified for that school, tend to be undervalued and have a great low ego/high execution/high IQ ratio. They have ivy league brains with middle class values.
5) How people start is generally how they finish. Every elite employee I’ve had was elite from the first month and never looked back. Great people are obviously great…you don’t have to look for it, they hit you over the face with it and other people tell you about it.
6a) Being kind, but firm and high with your expectations early on will go a very long way. One of the hardest parts about being a boss is that you’re essentially “head asshole” – it doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk, but it means that you have to brutally set standards
6b) You have hold people to these standards, which can be pretty unpleasant. It is way easier to do at the beginning than down the line though. The difference btw successful and unsuccessful companies often comes down to the ability of the CEO to walk that line.

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