3 Things We’ve Learned About Hiring Great People

Startup Hiring Tips

I have spent over ten years now hiring people and building teams, initially at Sonos where I managed an International sales team, and now at Fashion Metric where we are building our core team. Both experiences have been incredibly different but there are three common trends I’m seeing when it comes to hiring truly exceptional people.

Of course these are still the early days at Fashion Metric so take what I say with a grain of salt, we’re still learning every day but I do think that we have done a great job of refining our interview and hiring process so hopefully one or two of these will resonate with other founders that are also deep in the hiring process.

1. Hire slowly – don’t expect to have one interview and immediately decide “this is the one!” and hire them right away. Even though the first interview might be a homerun it is critically important to see them a minimum of three separate times (we typically do five separate interviews) to see if that one time was an anomaly or if they really are as good as you thought. The best advice I’ve been given by our advisors, investors, and other founders is – hire slow.

2. Multiple people should interview the same candidate – you shouldn’t just have the hiring manager interview a candidate. Having multiple viewpoints is incredibly valuable. I learned this one from Amazon and their interviewing process. After a few people on your team have interviewed someone, get in a room together and have everyone give their thoughts and opinions. Typically if even one person has reservations, that can be a red flag, the best people we have hired were liked unanimously. Think about it, if someone has an issue with a candidate before they even start working, what will happen 3-6 months down the road?

3. Take the time to do a thorough reference check – references are very important. It’s also important to pay attention to who someone gives as a reference, are they their friends, their manager, people that have worked for them? Who someone gives you as a reference can tell you a lot about a candidate. If you’re hiring someone as a manager and they can’t provide a single reference who has worked for them before that could be a red flag. Really take the time to hop on the phone with every reference you can find and ask them questions particularly around areas where you might have concerns. Avoid asking questions like, “What is their greatest weakness” and instead ask in a different way like, “how do you think they would solve this problem?”

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Edward Zeiden June 12, 2015, 7:18 pm

    Sound tactics as always, Morgan. Some of the best interviews I’ve conducted or participated in were a result of research done on the prospective hire prior to the interview. This usually leads to more compelling and revealing conversations rather than an interrogation. One of the most divulging tactics I’ve personally used is monitoring them in the waiting room/receptionist area. I could get a great read on someone just by the way they acted by themselves or treated the receptionist.

    Reply

Leave a Comment