15 Tips to Motivating GREAT Hires

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:

  1. Give them a world-changing vision
  2. Tell them their SPECIFIC contribution
  3. Treat them like they are the ONLY candidate for the position, make them feel special
  4. Give them authority, independence, trust… not accountability, management, etc
  5. Trust that the hours and location of work they set will be the Right Ones
  6. Know what matters to them and doesn’t, and make the offer/job about the Things That Matter
  7. 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!
  8. Showcase the culture of the company, don’t just interview them via hiring managers (aka: social events/drinks as part of hiring)
  9. Do “pathing” (aka their advancement plan) before they start
  10. Be consistent, respond quickly, be on time for calls/meetings, AKA: Treat them with respect!
  11. Tell them hiring process up front so they always know where they are and what’s next
  12. If you don’t know them directly, get a solid reference about YOU to THEM from a joint acquaintance
  13. Tell them the honest truth about the situation, the last thing you want is buyer’s remorse when they find out what’s up.
  14. Give them the resources they need (within reason) to fulfill their mandate (budget, people, space, time, etc)
  15. Push them to be better/faster/stronger, always

What would make YOU join a new startup that isn’t on this list?


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