Strategy · Hiring

What is your strategy for hiring your A-Team?

Axile Talout Founder & CEO at CT Consulting Canada

February 7th, 2015

I find it easier to hire people I worked with on other projects so I know what to expect in terms of quality and culture fit. However, sometimes we need to hire people we don't know. Where do you find your talents and how do you select them?

Thanks in advance. 

Ram Menon Founder and CEO at Avaamo

February 7th, 2015

I have had a simple unwritten rule that has worked so far. Always hire someone you know. Or someone your team can vouch for. I think this is what you are referring to in your note. It constraints your pool and makes searches longer. If you are a startup hiring your first 50 employees then follow this rule. For that first 50 employees - culture/fit is more important than perceived skills. In the end -hire smart people who can learn new skills. New skills can be taught. Culture/fit and passion cannot be taught. Hiring recruiters and the overhead of selecting/ contracting and educating them can itself be a full time job for a founder which takes you away from the main job product vision and customer accquisition.

Bhavin Parikh CEO and Co-founder at Magoosh

February 7th, 2015

1. Finding good candidates/employees
* Use your network and let everyone know you're hiring.
* Find candidates on LinkedIn 
* Use college job boards (we hired quite a few from UC Berkeley)
* Try Angel List jobs board

2. Selecting them
* Have them do a questionnaire/mini-project to test their skills/fit for the role
* Do a phone screen as a mini-interview + clarifications on the questionnaire
* The check references and ask specific questions like "would you rank this person in the top 10%, 25%. 50%"-hire the top 10%. And if you had an opening would you hire this person back without interviewing anyone else.
* Then bring them in for a longer interview

I've written about our process here: and we link to this process on every job board. 

We also hire most people on a 3-month contract (with full benefits, etc.) And then re-hire them for an indefinite period. Some people will balk at the 3-month contract and won't be interested, so it's a gamble.

Inderpal Singh

February 7th, 2015

What we do:

  1. Reach out to our network with the profile of what we're looking for
  2. Look for great business talent on LinkedIn and FounderDating
  3. For technical talent, we've been quite successful using StackOverflow Careers
I agree with previous comments around contingent search firms, etc.  That's hit and miss and pretty big time suck.

On assessment - I think Bridgewater, where I was before starting my current firm, taught it to me right - focus on Values (integrity, etc.), then Abilities (learns quickly, conceptual, analytical), then Skills.

JC Duarte Co-founder & COO @

February 8th, 2015

In addition to the great suggestions already submitted, I've found a world class process to be TopGrading.

In order for it to be effective you have to already have in place a solid company culture (Mission, Vision & Values).

I also love the concept behind 1-Page, that applicants pitch how they will add value, bring to the table & help you achieve your stated goals vs harping on their experience / past success.

Good luck!

Charles Kraus Senior Product Marketing Manager at Limelight Networks

February 9th, 2015

Axile - Starting with finding people, like you I like to look for those I have worked with already. If you have exhausted all the possibilities on these, then I go to my network of connections with a short position description and ask for recommendations. After that Social Media can be a way. Does your company have a company Facebook and Twitter account? If so, you can post your positions on Facebook, or Tweet a bit-ly link to the position description. Do you have a friend who recruits? LinkedIn Recruiter allows you to search for candidates by profiling positions. As for interviewing candidates, I focus on having them describe projects that would be similar to yours, and make sure you ask them about issues they had to overcome and how they overcame them. I would bring up an issue you have had and ask them how they would overcome the obstacles. I listen for how they think. To get at cultural fit,I find it most effective to get a candidate outside the office environment - meet for coffee or after work beer in a pub. Steer the conversation to what makes them happiest working with a group of people, and what stresses them out. Out of office environments often lets candidates relax and speak freely. I often bring other members of my team to these as there is more social interaction this way. Charlie Kraus


February 7th, 2015

For technical employees, I spend a lot of time networking, I go to over 10 hackathons a year, mainly to meet technical people. Sometimes I just go to meet people, maybe I work on a project, maybe not.

I have made several good finds and have a couple of great friends and yes I have hired them on projects and they worked out great.

Craigslist is useless for me, if I wanted to connect with offshore workers I already have those connections.

I joined this network to meet people for this exact reason.

Finding an employee is pretty easy, finding a good employee is much harder, finding a partner can be impossible and you need to really think that thru before making a commitment (No other person will have the same level of commitment to your idea as you do, it would be rare if that's the case unless you both developed the idea together).

I spend time at meetups, I've re-connected with people that I would not even think about.

If and when you do actually place a job post somewhere, please include your email and be open to Passive Job Seekers, they might not be looking for a new job but you can always sell yourself to them.

Brett Fox Respected, Results-Oriented CEO, Entrepreneur, Author, and Coach

February 8th, 2015

I follow a four step criterion for hiring.  These criteria fit regardless of the area you are hiring people for. They are:
  1. Integrity. Need we go any further? Why would you ever hire someone if they don’t have integrity? Actually, I think we do need to go a little further. Everyone - everyone - is occasionally faced with the dilemma that arises when you're interviewing a clearly talented individual who seems a bit ethically iffy. Don't hire them. Ever. No amount of ability makes up for a lack of integrity.
  2. Smart. We want people that are very smart. Who doesn’t, right? Well, it's surprising how often I see people who only hire those who clearly aren't as smart as they are. Don't be intimidated by those who might have something you don't. Be grateful you can add them to your team.
  3. Passion. I don’t care how smart, and how much integrity an employee has. They will not work out if they are not passionate about what they do. They also won't work out if they're not passionate about what you do. When I interview, I always look for people who are committed enough to my cause to have done their research and found out as much as possible about my company. 
  4. Company fit. People frequently overlook the importance of cultural fit. Desiring cultural fit does not mean that we want people that are clones of each other. Diversity is vital, but diverse employees better mesh well with each other. Throw a bunch of diverse ingredients that don't go together into a pot, and you have a horrible meal. Throw the right stuff into that pot, and you've got gourmet cuisine. Aim for a five-star group of employees.
My hiring screwups are usually when I don't follow the criteria.

Stephen PMP Project Management Professional

February 7th, 2015

Stalk quality talent on LinkedIn. Buy the Premium Service, then find their email address in their contact info, and plug in their info in to evaluate their image on Social Media. SpokeO is also a paid service, but inexpensive. Dare I say it, but depending on the complexity of talent you need, Craigslist is still a viable free option. I've hired from there plenty of times. Cheers!

Chuck Solomon Seeking help with B2B sales @LineHire.

February 7th, 2015

I think many overlook how important staff is to the current and future success of an enterprise. It has been said to 'hire slow and fire fast'.  Meaning take your time with your hiring process to get the right skills and cultural fit, but when I person you hired doesn't work out, move on rapidly.

Here are the bullet points from an article on Tips Hiring Staff.

  • Don’t Wait Until You Need Someone
  • Try Before You Buy
  • Background Check
  • Be The Best Place To Work
See full article.

Best regards,

Chuck Solomon
BountyMiner | confidential candidate referrals