— by Jon Kontz
It is very hard to identify the right hires very early on. Here are three things I think about when evaluating candidates. There are minimum-viable success factors when making early hires. Two common factors between past experience and current position is a minimum. Three is important. Four is ideal when the stakes for a hire’s performance are high. The four factors we look at to see how well they will fit are;
1) Industry Context; fintech, pharma or home services
2) Team Size; small team, large team
3) Role; finance, sales, marketing, product
4) Stage; ideate, launch, scale, build/explore
The importance of momentum and the scarcity of resources makes switching contexts and roles a huge distraction for most new hires and the teams they are hired onto. For instance; the questions people learn to ask at a big company are very different than those at a small company.
The Team Dimensions Profile 2.0 linked here gives a helpful assessment to identify where your new hire will fit if you are expecting them to take on leadership;
• Creator: Generates ideas
• Advancer: Communicates ideas
• Refiner: Challenges ideas
• Executor: Implements ideas
• Flexor: Steps in to fill the gaps
For leadership hires, consider both the hire’s ideal role and the stage that your company is in. This is one reason dynamic equity splits can be so helpful for early stage companies. Dynamic operational leadership through different stages helps to maintain a cohesive team and capture opportunity.
Interview lots of people. Bringing in the ‘right’ hire at the ‘wrong stage’ is very disillusioning. For further reading, I recommend Ray Dalio’s “Principles”, and Lawrence Miller’s “Barbarians To Bureaucrats.”