How Savvy Startups Hire
This presentation consists of insights inspired by 33voices interviews with Jenna Abdou.
Table of Contents
Munjal Shah, Health IQ
Liz Wessel & JJ Fliegelman, Campus Job
Daniel Chait, Greenhouse
Chris Lexmond, REscour
Shadiah Sigala & Oz Alon, Honeybook
Richard Kerby, Venrock
Co-Founder and CEO of Health IQ
Instead of evaluating potential team members on past positions, focus on the personal and professional wins that are most significant.
We dont want to measure people by their success by association. We want to measure
them by their track record of being successful.
The Health IQ team requires new team members to submit a brag sheet listing their accomplishments. Whether its being named MVP of the JV basketball team or selling a
company to Google, encourage individuals to include each achievement theyre proud of.
Usually what we find is that people who are great in a couple of dimensions
are great at almost everything.
In startups, there is marginal value for the devils advocate. The whole world is playing devils advocate for a startup. I dont need
more people who say its not going to work.
Recognize each of the team members who joined you at the start as
co-founders. Titles are irrelevant when youre all working towards the same goal.
For small teams especially, only hire people who are passionate about what your company
has to do and will pull in the same direction. This is how Munjal understood it in the early days of Health IQ: If we dont row this boat
across the lake we are all dead.
Assemble a team who is irreverent enough to tell you when youre wrong. This is especially
important second and third time founders.
The only way to teach passion and hard work is to lead by example.
The most important leadership skill period is optimism.
Liz Wessel & JJ Fliegelman
Co-Founders of Campus Job
Establish what it means to go above and beyond for your company. Make it a
priority that each new hire has exemplified those traits in past positions.
Above and beyond doesnt necessarily mean I pulled an all-nighter to get a project done. It means something like, I pulled an
all-nighter and then found out that half of the project was on a USB that was in Albany, New York. So I called a courier service, had them
pick it up and bring it by train. - Liz Wessel
The only way to target and hire individuals who are hungry, passionate, and talented is
to exercise those traits yourself. Your attitude as a founder is the ultimate dictation of how
your team performs. Act wisely.
Co-Founder and CEO of Greenhouse
The most important question to ask in an interview is: How have
you contributed to an organization outside of your job description?
The people who make the biggest difference are the people who
find their own problems to solve and solve them without you telling them to.
Remember that interviewing is a two-way street. Come prepared with the compelling case as to
why someone should join your team.
As your company shifts into hyper-growth mode its vital to explicitly define your culture.
Ensure that that each team member, regardless of when they started, shares a unified definition
of what it means to be on your team.
Co-Founder & CTO at REscour
The foundation of your startups culture should be that your team is constantly learning how to
learn. Smart teams get better every day.
On hiring engineers: I think a great engineer is curious. A great engineer who is curious is going to go out and find the
answer regardless of what the problem is. If that means learning a new language or using a new tool, thats going to happen.
Shadiah Sigala & Oz Alon
Co-Founders of Honeybook
While early hires tend to be generalists, its vital to target specific skill sets to accelerate your growth in
the later stages. To maintain hyper-growth, startups need individuals who can come
in and deliver on day one.
Every day feels different working at a startup. Target individuals who are comfortable
and excited to grow with the company.
Vice President at Venrock
While its important to stay as scrappy as possible for as long as
possible, founders should always be open to bringing on A+ talent.
Prioritize an investor who is deeply ingrained in your company culture and plans to play an
active role helping you grow your team.
The greatest IP of a company is the institutional knowledge of the team itself.
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Presentation by Chase Jennings
Insights by Jenna Abdou