The following is an excerpt from one of the documents we follow in our hiring process.
It’s obvious we want to hire great people. No sane person will advise otherwise. There are different definitions of great, but let’s ask the question, why?
The simple answer is time. Time is everything in a startup. A startup is designed in a way that the amount of progress you need to show every 6 months is 10x of what a large company would do. That’s the only way to survive both in terms of ability to attract financing and keeping morale high. Every bad hire slows this down. The worst part is not just slowing down but moving the company backward since you need to undo all the work.
The second reason is it sets a tone for the upcoming hires. Guess who is going to interview the next set of 10 hires? It’s the first set of 10 people who you hired. If they are mediocre, they can’t assess extraordinary talent. Even if you do manage to get an extraordinary person in the door, she would look at the team, decide it’s not high caliber, and pass the offer. And then, well, I’m sorry you are stuck.
This is why you see even if companies have a lot of money, it is very hard to get back on the extraordinary trajectory. This is one of the reasons that the initial 10 hires of the company play a very important role and then you will need to scale it to the initial 10-20 hires in each org and eventually to the first ~200-250 hires of the company. It’s very critical.
How do we hire great people? Half the work comes from being disciplined in the process and knowing exactly what you want. The remaining is ensuring you have a good calibration of what you want and selling them on the job.
The rest of the document talks about the interview process we follow and the job guidelines for different roles we need to hire.
The core part of the document which resonates with me so much is that fact is the people you hire are going to hire the next set of people. This has been the forcing function for me to hire the best talent whenever possible.
Hiring extraordinary talent is hard. The first step to make sure is that everyone in the team understands the importance of extraordinary talent.