Everyone knows that the key to building a hit company is to pick the right team. What’s less clear is how to go about doing that. HotelTonight co-founder and COO Jared Simon offered a few points to consider at Vator Splash last week.
1) Only hire when you’re in pain.
“What we’ve found is that you can guarantee you’re going to make the wrong hire if you hire someone for some future need or future infrastructure. We don’t go hire someone in anticipation. We wait until there’s a need so we know exactly who we need and go after them,” said Simon.
2) Don’t compromise on hiring.
“We grew more slowly and pissed off our investors because we refused to hire people who were second rate. We didn’t want anyone who would throw off our balance. We probably could’ve grown more quickly if we’d hired bodies, but that’s not what we wanted.”
3) Don’t mistake technical proficiency for the right hire.
“You need someone whose going to be a cultural fit. Better to have someone who may be a step down on technical proficiency but who believes in your goal,” said Simon.
4) Titles matter.
“You’ll probably find yourself in a situation where you really want to hire someone and it’s the most important hire you’ve ever made, but they’re getting offers from several other companies and they come to you and say ‘I’ll choose your company if you give me this responsibility that I’m not at all ready for.’ And you might be tempted to make that deal, but it doesn’t work out because they’re not going to do well in that role and by then it’ll be too late. The only thing left to do is part ways, and that’s never fun.”
And finally 5) Give up the reigns. I’ve said before that you only hire when you’re in pain, but the only time when that may not be the case is when it comes to senior executives. When you’re the founder of a company, sometimes you’re loathe to give up the reigns to other people in your company because you’re afraid they’re not going to do the job as well as you. Senior executives and people with specific talent are people you want to hire more quickly than anyone else. When I said only hire when you’re in pain, I mean don’t throw bodies at a situation.”
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