Finding the right people for your ground level startup is really hard! 

As every startup founder can attest, there is just no playbook to getting the right people to join your team. It is about just getting anyone with the right skills to join the team. Often resulting in an unsuccessful endeavor. 

So what’s missing?  …. Positioning & expectations alignment. 

Positioning is rooted in what the person you are considering, really DESIRES their professional growth. Are they a builder? A Improver? Or a maintainer?

Expectation alignment is how well the person aligns with your company values and what your expectations are for performance:

Step 1. Document your values and share them with each person. Allow them to lean in or bow out.

Step 2. Document how both parties view the responsibilities & performance standards.

Step 3. Then come to an agreement on how to keep each other accountable. 

Our guest today: Craig Conlee, Executive Advisor & Former Founder & CEO of Zealr

Craig Conlee has over 25 years of selling enterprise software for giants like IBM and HP with over $110M in total software sales. In 2015, Craig decided to startup a ML/AI B2B SaaS company to solve a problem he faced as a sales person. Craig graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a major in Political Science. As a student athlete, Craig is still the shortest rower in the 150 year history of CAL Crew. 

Craig Conlee grew up in Newport Beach, CA where he met his wife. Currently, he is living in Orange County with his family. 

Today we discuss:

  • Why alignment is so critical when hiring
  • How to align with people so they lean in to your opportunity

Challenge today?

Getting people that understand the work involved with a startup

  • Around location, mindset

    • Maybe a social thing?
    • A lot of people want to join a startup but want to be paid
    • Don’t understand equity
  • Right mindset, 
    • Easy to check out
    • Your not paying them
    • Let people join the team that don't fit the values
    • All equity based
    • Guilt for asking them to do work because you are asking a lot

Why is this important to the company?

  • Gravitate toward people who understand
  • A lot of education of the reality
  • You have to be very upfront as to where you are in the stage of my startup.
  • Which allowed me to clearly understand if they want to join or not. 

How do we solve the problem? 

  • Process in which you get to know people better

    • Repeatable & consistent way of interviewing
    • Every conversation was different
    • The good hires were just “lucky” 
    • Remove the luck from hiring
      • Worst gambler, yet a startup founder
  • Understanding what they want and what to expect
    • What they want

      • Avoid
      • Leading the witness
      • Selling rather than listening ***
    • Expectations
      • High risk of not succeeding
      • Equity as compensation
      • People getting offended by perceived value
      • Want a mix of cash & equity
      • Hire slow, fire really fast. Have knowledge base centralized for quick transition
  • Don't let yourself be held hostage
    • Avoid paying salary & equity balance- if they leave you have to start all over again
    • Balance keeping them from leaving
    • Conflict of interest in terms of valuation
    • Equity only
    • If it doesn't work out, it wasn't meant to be

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

  • Have a sound, repeatable process of interview hiring
  • Hire slow, fire really fast.
  • Don't be held hostage!

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Authored:  "Healing Career Wounds"

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