One of our first Founders interviews was with Rytis Vitkauskas, the co-founder of YPlan, and as he shared his goals for the app (most of which he’s already accomplished), I couldn’t stop thinking about his adamant declaration that his co-founder Viktoras and him would meet each new hire before bringing them on to the team. Having just entered the startup community everything about the culture seemed hectic, so the priority Rytis’ placed on his team left a significant impact on me.
A year later, Chase and I caught up with Rytis after YPlan expanded to Edinburgh, New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco in under 12 months, so when I asked him how the company’s culture evolved I was nearly positive he’d say that they had to outsource hiring. To my surprise, culture and hiring were the two topics Rytis elaborated on most in our conversation. He emphasized the importance of the ownership mentality by stating that it’s the driving indicator of a startup’s potential to expand; And, although he claims to spend more time on a plane than in any of the app’s operating cities, Rytis and Viktoras still meet each new YPlan hire and evoking exceptional culture remains their primary goal.
As many of the founders we work with are similarly growing their teams, we’ve compiled hiring tactics from the CEOs of Joyus, Livefyre, CustomMade, Treehouse, Cover, MAZ Digital, Sailthru, HelloDoctor and of course, YPlan to help you approach hiring as an accomplishment rather than a burden.
You can also view the insights in the Slideshare below.
Targeting Potential Hires:
- As CEO, hiring is the most direct way you can impact your company’s growth. Think twice before outsourcing – No one can pitch your vision like you can.
- Reach out to individuals directly; Receiving an email from the CEO represents your startup’s culture and indicates the value you’ve placed on his or her work.
- Whether on LinkedIn, at conferences or through references capitalize on each opportunity to add to your team.
- Identify the traits of your most successful employees and hire people who share their positive characteristics.
- To accelerate your growth, identify team members who are willing to work for options.
- Set your hiring bar high to ensure that each new hire has the skills and personality to merge with your startup culture. Once you’ve identified them, do everything in your power to add them to your team.
- Opt for a verbal resume rather than a written one and discuss each of the individual’s opportunities to evaluate the motives behind their decisions.
- Use the question “Why do you want to work here?” as the greatest indicator of an individual’s commitment. If their response doesn’t reflect an intense desire to serve your customer it’s likely not the best fit.
- To predict how an individual will represent your brand, test their communication and problem solving skills by having them respond to a mock customer service request. Their answer will illuminate their ability and patience to explain your work to a customer who may not understand it.
- Facilitate meaningful discussions to evaluate an individual’s emotional and intellectual intelligence. Run them through possible business scenarios and ask how they would respond.
- To test for humility, be cognizant of an individual’s choice to say “I” or “we” when referring to past experiences.
- Determine an individual’s social skills by watching them interact with your team – Did they communicate with others or keep to themselves during their time in the office?
- Be willing to take risks – As CEO you’re responsible for gauging a person’s potential rather than solely focusing on their past experiences.
- References are a top indicator of an individual’s work ethic – Ask whether your potential hire resided in the top 1, 5 or 10 % of people the reference has ever hired and base your decision on that response.
- Now that you’ve brought them on, forget 90 day trial periods and test projects. When you trust your team members from day one you not only empower them to be bold and take risks but you give them something to lose.