With baseball season in full swing, I got to thinking about how companies can recruit a team where each person is the best at their position.
When hiring high-performance teams, the typical measures used to evaluate a candidate: excellent grades from the best universities, with stellar resumes, for instance — is the obvious way to go. But typically these candidates are expensive and extremely challenging to hire. And past indications of talents aren’t true measures of employee potential.
In the hyper competitive hiring environment in tech, it pays to be a bit more like legendary GM Billy Beane, finding the attributes that make for a good team/skill fit, but may be overlooked in the job market. Here’s how I scout for high-potential talent and develop all-star players — who have managed to build a wildly successful service that has been at the top of the App Store — and who continue to thrive and grow in the high-performance start-up culture at Unroll.Me.
1. Potentiality: I want to see how a candidate’s performance from last year compares to today. What steps did he or she take to get there? I’m interested in the rookies, who, when given the right tools, can grow into MVPs. One of our engineers, for instance, came from a restaurant group. He decided that he wanted to become an engineer, so he started taking classes and learning as much as he could. We hired him while he was in the middle of this learning curve, and he is now one of the star members of the team!
2. Passion: It is important that everyone genuinely loves the subject matter they’re working on. Our developers are constantly reading up on new trends, methods, etc. because they are genuinely interested in the subject. It’s not just about getting tasks completed best as possible. This makes for both a productive and happy team. That’s a win.
3. Problem Solving Mentality: When there are roadblocks ahead, figuring out alternate solutions is a must. Resources aren’t always available — especially when it comes to endless funds. I need someone scrappy with a “no lose” attitude that can find workarounds and get the job done.
4. Self-Motivation: In a small start-up, there may not be the typical full management structure of a larger, more corporate environment, so setting one’s own pace and learning on the job is a must. When I’m considering a candidate, I want someone who will build their own value; someone who will work their ass off for the good of the company. A previous intern, who came on right around the beginning of Unroll.Me doing anything that was needed, (and I mean ANYTHING) has since become our Product Manager and an indispensable part of the company.
5. Team-Oriented Attitude: Everyone at Unroll.Me sees the company as a family and are willing to do whatever it takes to keep it up and running. This translates into working on more than one thing, rather than just what a job description entails. When anyone needs anything, there’s no shortage of help, even if it’s something outside of their job. When I’m interviewing, the “we’re all in this together” outlook is a must.
How do you build your all-star team? Let me know — always room to learn!