Taking the right people on the startup journey – Startup Hiring

TradeGecko’s biggest bottleneck to date is its hiring.

…and we don’t expect this to change.

Startup hiring is one of the biggest challenges any growing business faces. Finding the right people to join your company at the right time can make all the difference with growth.

Defining Expectations and Hiring Criteria

One thing we’ve prioritised is the setting of clear expectations and criteria on evaluating candidates. At TradeGecko we have two primary criteria; the beer test (would you want to get a beer with that person) and secondly, raw brain-power as an individual. It is extremely important that you can spend five minutes with the person and say. She Gets. Stuff. Done.

We’ve also used Paul English of Kayak.com fame hiring criteria:

  1. Bandwidth. I’m a snob for intelligence. I like to surround myself with people who are much smarter and faster than me. People who can juggle ten things at once, and handle curve balls. This is a requirement in an entrepreneurial activity, as by definition you are doing something new, so you have to learn (from your customers) while you are building.
  2. Attitude. I like people who have fire in their belly, who are outwardly competitive, and who are very goal / results driven. I like people who are fun and who laugh a lot, including at themselves. I like people who are so confident in their skills that they are openly and instantly humble about things they are not good at. I like people who delight in seeing others perform, and who delight in blowing away customers with awesome products and services. I like people who are open and honest.
  3. Experience. I want people who have been successful at something– getting stuff done. They don’t need to have done what I’m hiring them for, but they need to bring some new success experience to the team. (I once hired a guy who had an olympic medal in rowing; I thought that was just the coolest thing; I did not need him to row, but I knew if he could get an olympic medal, it said a lot about his determination etc.)
  4. Lack of dysfunctional behavior. I will not tolerate anyone who hurts the team. I don’t care how awesome they are. If they are a jerk, work will not be fun (for me or my team mates) and that is not acceptable. We all have insecurities and much dysfunctional behavior is bad responses to such.

Hiring, Paul English

When to hire for a role at a startup.

The way we’re looking at hiring (outside of scaling our product team) is by evaluating specific role’s of work that are being sub-optimally performed by a current team member. The sub-optimal performance could be for multiple reasons; a lack of skills, experience or just the lack of hours in the day to give the work role the focus it deserves. Then chunking off these roles and finding someone to focus entirely on this one role.

“Extreme Focus (driven by Peter):  Peter required that everyone be tasked with exactly one priority.  He would refuse to discuss virtually anything else with you except what was currently assigned as your #1 initiative.  Even our annual review forms in 2001 required each employee to identify their single most valuable contribution to the company.”

- Keith Rabois, What strong beliefs on culture for entrepreneurialism did Peter / Max / David have at PayPal?

The first role that has received this treatment at TradeGecko was content generation – as a B2B SaaS company we are placing a lot of value on the quality and eventually the quantity of content that we’re providing to the community.

Where to find new team members for startups

Startups are wily creatures, and there definitely seems to be a lot of people in-love with the idea of working at a startup, but who don’t understand just how much work being a core member of a new company really is – there doesn’t seem to be a solution to this problem – at-least not one that I can see, the general consenus here is evaluate as best as you can and be willing to hire and fire fast.

At this point the staff we’ve hired have come from two channels; inbound and existing relationships. We’ve attempted to do outreach hiring with advertising, however the quality of leads for positions hasn’t justified the effort. More importantly people who are coming from existing relationships and networks are more likely to understand the startup lifestyle. As an example – we were part of the JFDI incubator , and we’ve used this the opportunity to recruit from the talent pool of the teams that haven’t quite made it.

We’re still working out how to hire.

We’re going to continually get it wrong and so will you. There will be times when you have to let people go, move people around, but growth requires human capital.

We’ve identified hiring as our biggest bottleneck and personally I’ve set hiring this as one of my big priorities - and I’m going to start focusing a lot of resource at making sure it doesn’t restrain our growth.

“A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.”

What a CEO doesFred Wilson

But we’re still figuring it out and we’d love any feedback, opinions or suggestions on how we could improve.

Please let us know in the comments below.

p.s We’re doing a series on talent, recruiting, hiring in Singapore, scouting vs training talent etc., so expect more to come on this topic.

Learn more:

TradeGecko is hiring! Email me at cameron@tradegecko.com if you want to come work for an awesome Singapore based, venture-funded, revenue generating, B2B SaaS startup building beautiful online inventory management software (holy buzzword usage batman).

This post was first published on TradeGecko’s blog as Taking the right people on the startup journey – Startup Hiring.

The post Taking the right people on the startup journey – Startup Hiring appeared first on e27.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar
    South Korea decriminalises adultery, condom shares soar

    South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a controversial adultery law which for more than 60 years had criminalised extra-marital sex and jailed violators for up to two years. The decision saw shares in the South Korean firm Unidus Corp., one of the world's largest condom manufacturers, soar by the daily limit of 15 percent on the local stock exchange. "Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals' private lives," said …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • U.S. flies most advanced surveillance plane from Philippines

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - The United States has begun flying its most advanced surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, out of the Philippines for patrols over the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday, acknowledging the flights for the first time. The United States, the Philippines' oldest and closest ally, has promised to share "real time" information on what is happening in Philippine waters as China steps up its activities in the South China Sea. China claims most of …

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

  • IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate
    IS executioner 'Jihadi John' named as London graduate

    "Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State group militant believed responsible for beheading of at least five Western hostages, has been named as Kuwaiti-born computing graduate Mohammed Emwazi from London. "Jihadi John", nicknamed after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options