We have raised our Series A and are doubling the size of our team. Excuse my cliché but we need to cross the infamous chasm. We need to build a great technology company and we need to execute while watching over our shoulders for threats at every corner. Now we are hiring for people who are specialists in their fields. We are looking for leaders, doers, and those who are passionate about building a long-term business. On top of all of this, they must still possess many of the traits we looked for at the seed stage, which is not an easy feat.
I personally have high expectations and standards for everyone we bring into this organization. To those who meet these expectations and help build our company the intrinsic, monetary, and professional rewards will be there. For those who do not, we have no patience. So what are these expectations and what do we look for at this stage? The answers to these questions are one in the same:
1) Intellectual curiosity:
Intellectual curiosity is at the centre of our culture and hiring practice. I always ask one simple question at every interview and am still shocked how few people have an instant answer: “What is your current favourite technology company and why?” I can almost make the hiring decision based purely on their response. If you have no answer, I can assume you don’t really care about technology OR business. We are both. If you answer this question with a canned answer it shows me you can’t think outside of the box.
If you answer this question with a genuine passion or use it as an opportunity to start talking about everything else tech related that you enjoy, then we have a winner. This question is really designed to hide the real intent – how passionate are you about your vocation? If you don’t have any passion, then it is unlikely you will be intellectually curious. For the record, my current favorite technology company is Xiaomi (look them up)!
I have always said that a start-up is the best place to fast track your career. It’s a place where you go from an engineer, to a product owner, to a leader in your field in less than 3 years. It is where you go from a sales rep, to a sales manager, to running an organization in less time than it takes to finish a management trainee program. However, until a start-up reaches complete product market fit and crosses the chasm, life will always be chaotic, confusing, and full of day-to-day changes. If you are uncomfortable with this environment, then you should work for the Government. We want people who are hungry enough to weather the storm and battle through the chaos because they want to succeed at all costs and can always see the bigger picture.
We don’t hire for years of experience. We don’t discriminate based on age, gender, race, or any other factors other than maturity. I am of course talking about professional maturity. Personal goofiness, silliness, and general immaturity are all amazing features to have in a start-up. Who really wants to grow up anyway? We hire for people who are professionally mature. People we can trust to put in front of a client, investor, and the rest of the team on the second day of the job. This also means we are hiring for people we can trust. Maturity means having the confidence to bring up issues, speak your mind, and challenge your peers and management on critical decisions.
Our recruitment efforts continue as we look to fill several crucial positions on our team. Hiring based on principles will be harder than hiring based on a checklist of skill-sets, but in the end we will build a much better company as a result.