Most entrepreneurs, when asked, will tell you that hiring the “right people” is one of the most important things they do for their companies. However, what many entrepreneurs won’t tell you is that despite their best efforts, they suck at picking the best people during the recruitment process. I definitely fall into this camp.
This doesn’t just apply to hiring in the management ranks and technical staff, it applies to everyone. During most of the years I’ve run startups, I’ve always considered myself pretty good at detecting startup talent. But, the empirical data suggests that I’m almost as likely to screw it up completely as I am to get it right. Over time, as a startup founder, you learn not to rely on all the conventional proxies for trying to predict the probability of success of any given hire. Things like interviews (however intense), tests, grades, top universities, etc. are all only somewhat effective in raising your odds of making the right decision. After all is said and done, you’re likely to screw it up more often than you realize – or are likely willing to admit. And, the problem is not just limited to you – others on the team are not that much better at it.
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