Let’s talk about why your company is not stacked with A-players. It is not because you cannot afford them.

At its root, the reason is narrowed down to one thing, your foundation

We tend to think of hiring as an activity rather than an essential function like product or finance or even your pitch deck. So much time is invested into these activities.  Yet, hiring is the most critical component of building a successful business. In fact, most investors' decisions are heavily influenced by the people who are onboard.

Solidifying a foundation for hiring requires the same amount of care and work as do the other components of your company. It cannot be outsourced. Hiring needs to be owned by leadership, documented and taught to everyone in the organization. 

Foundation is what attracts high performers to want to join your company, not the paycheck.

Guest Bio:

Steve Newcomb is a product/engineering led serial entrepreneur who has co-founded four successful venture backed mission-driven startups. He’s best known for co-founding Powerset (now Microsoft Bing) and scaling its engineering team, culture, and operations. 

He is the author of some of the most fundamental essays on hiring, culture, and scaling engineering teams, including the original “Cult(ure) Creation” and “In Defense of Introverts”

Today we discuss:

  • Building a strong hiring foundation
  • How to execute an outstanding interview 

Challenges today?

Foundation: Do the big things right and then everything becomes exponentially easier

Be the valedictorian of Stanford. Do the hard things early

  • Money tier 1 VC
  • Mission
  • Product that represents a true and novel breakthrough
    • Purpose above just flipping the company
    • Oh my god… 
  • Founder that is technical, thought & cultural leader, good @ recruiting 
    • excellent at recruiting- study how to speak to people, how to talk to introverts & inspire them. How to be inspiring. 
    • Have founders that are technical, thought, and culture leaders
    • Have a company that matters, something with a mission that’s embedded 
  • Be a Super A
    • Have a founder that is excellent at recruiting and is a Super A
    • Track everyone who has ever worked for you. Keep in contact
    • A=A, B=C
    • Get the right people in early
    • VPE needs to be a baller! 
  • Why buy silver when you can rent gold
    • Friends that want to be founders- get them to help 3 days a week?
    • Often worth 10 engineers
    • Obvious Yes then there is everything else = automatically hire slower

Without this?

  • How to hire good people? 

    • Lie to them & pay them a lot of money

Rick’s Nuggets

Chad Walters from Powerset

  • Foundation = Structure & Process
  • Structure- steps, timing & interview questions
  • Process - flow of the steps, transition & feedback timing, decision

How do we solve the problem? 

Principles of doing good interview process. Treat everyone like gold.

You interview me

  • Earn your job first

    • Change the power dynamic 
    • De stress
    • Have they done any research to come up with questions
  • Do not negotiate
    • Pay should be at the 50th percentile not pay above market
    • When you have to pay above market the worse your product is
    • Tier one vc firm gives - data 
    • Design for introverts and socially awkward situations
    • Don’t repeat

Creative Tactics: Don't work without good fundamentals 

  • Look for “Thank you’s” in IRC/stack overflow
  • Reverse layup- founders reverse lookup on everyone that follows you
    • Already interested in what you have to say. Know who they are
  • Sit down with your A’s
    • Ask who they know, names
    • Release from the social awkwardness of asking their friends
    • Who follows your A’s?
    • Super A’s are how you fire fast
  • Jr engineers
    • Hack reactor- meet everyone and ask ”who is the best engineer is”
  • Kill the weeds
    • Don't need a unanimous vote to say yes
    • If you build trust, they trust you to hire the right people

The interview

  • Assign jobs
  • Assign interview responsibilities
  • Founder leads recruiting
  • Do not waste the  team's time with duds. 
  • The highest level Founder/Exec does the filtering so that every candidate that makes it to a full spread interview is a Super A, or an A.
  • Do this well, you build trust, followers. Do this poorly and you deserve to fail.

Rick’s Nuggets

  • Purpose is to get to the TRUTH
  • Script the questions
  • Discovery call 
    • Positioning & Impact
  • Value aligned interview
    • Do behaviors align with the values, mission & vision of the business
  • Working session
    • Real life scenario of how the team will work together
    • Solve a real problem

Key Takeaways that the Audience can plug into their business today! (Value):

  • If the foundation is right. Everything else becomes easier
  • Spend all your time getting the first people done right
  • Be relentlessly creative

Guest Links

Host Links:

  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rick-girard-07722/
  • Company: https://www.stridesearch.com/
  • Podcast: https://www.hirepowerradio.com
  • Authored:  "Healing Career Wounds"  https://amzn.to/3tGbtre
  • HireOS inquiry: rick@stridesearch.com


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