Things change once you’ve built an MVP and raised money. Don’t think you have to build, hire people who can build for you! But building a mediocre team by accident is a common trap to fall into. 🪤
Your first 10 employees will replicate themselves 10 times, 🔟 ❌ 🔟
So it’s especially important to get the first hires right.
Don’t hire too fast 🐌
One of the biggest mistakes I see founders make is that they hire too quickly. Once their startup raises $1M+, they immediately want to recruit 8-10 people to look "official," when in reality they should be focused on the mechanics of finding product market fit.
Please mind the gap! 🕳️
Before hiring anyone, map out how information and responsibilities flow through your team (i.e. make an Org Chart). Even if you are a two person team, define exactly who does what so you understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Figure out where the gaps are to drive your company forward.
Have one source of truth ⛲
Have an applicant tracking system (ATS) setup that serves as your central source of truth. Diagram the entire experience and identify potential leakage. For example, if you interview lots of people but don't make offers, you probably have a sourcing problem or a poor evaluation
Cold outbonding is like flossing 🦷
Easy to do daily, but not everyone does it. Of course, you’ll have to do cold-sourcing too. Have each hiring manager block 30min/day on their cal for 2 weeks, go on LinkedIn to identify 10 candidates to send outbound messages to. If you have great messaging you can expect 20% to be interested in a first call. Roughly 50% of the people you interview will convert into the pipeline, so you should plan to have ~40-50 total candidates in your pipeline for any role you hire for.
Hire at a 70% confidence 🔫
According to Rabois, if you aim for zero-defect hiring, it’s a little bit like zero-defect decision making → you are being too conservative
You want to pull the trigger when “you’re about 70 percent confident that it’s the right decision. Below 50 percent is kind of reckless. But if you go for 100 percent, you’re waiting too long and you’re probably losing candidates.
A simple rule for value-creating and value preserving roles 👨🏼🎨 vs. 👵🏻
Keith Rabois framework for evaluating roles is to ask whether the role is value-creating or value preserving? Value-creating roles are exactly what they sound like; you create and capture value with the products/services you build. A value preserving role is less creative and more tactical; you’re already doing well, and you want to make sure nothing gets screwed up.
Your rule of thumb should be as follows:
Value-creating roles? Hire for slope → take risks
Value-protecting role? Hire for experience → zero defect
🦸 Attributes to look for
- High slope & learning velocity
- Drive & grit
- Bias to action
- High integrity & low ego
- Intellectually Curious
- Long-term oriented
- Micro-pessimist, Macro-optimist