I recently joined a startup in a senior role, and one of the CEOs first questions was “how do we hire epic talent?”
It’s a great question, but often the way you hire is a reflection of your culture. However, as the new guy, I don’t know the culture yet so I got to blue-sky this. I did an informal survey of my 1500+ FB friends, 15K ish Twitter friends and a hundred individuals directly to come up with this list (in no particular order) of the things that motivate epic employees to join startups, especially lesser known ones:
- Give them a world-changing vision
- Tell them their SPECIFIC contribution
- Treat them like they are the ONLY candidate for the position, make them feel special
- Give them authority, independence, trust… not accountability, management, etc
- Trust that the hours and location of work they set will be the Right Ones
- Know what matters to them and doesn’t, and make the offer/job about the Things That Matter
- Sell the city, show the city, if you’re trying to get them to move. AKA: fly them out, spend 1-2 days with them, don’t just make it about the interview… they are interviewing the city as much as the company!
- Showcase the culture of the company, don’t just interview them via hiring managers (aka: social events/drinks as part of hiring)
- Do “pathing” (aka their advancement plan) before they start
- Be consistent, respond quickly, be on time for calls/meetings, AKA: Treat them with respect!
- Tell them hiring process up front so they always know where they are and what’s next
- If you don’t know them directly, get a solid reference about YOU to THEM from a joint acquaintance
- Tell them the honest truth about the situation, the last thing you want is buyer’s remorse when they find out what’s up.
- Give them the resources they need (within reason) to fulfill their mandate (budget, people, space, time, etc)
- Push them to be better/faster/stronger, always
What would make YOU join a new startup that isn’t on this list?