Hiring for your startup? Here’s an interesting filter — Greed

We were in the thick of interviewing a very promising candidate for Trusted. It came down to discussing the compensation package and suddenly we found ourselves at different ends of the spectrum — at an early stage company like ours we feel like every member joining our team is a founding member. We believe in this following mantra, as Naval puts it in this article:

Close the equity gap [between founders and hires], and hiring will get a lot easier.

As I was having a conversation with this prospect, I got reminded of a fascinating conversation I had with Josh Kopelman about a year ago. Some of you may know, Josh is an extremely savvy investor. He has been there and done that. I was mulling different opportunities, and perhaps even blathering a bit, as I was seeking advice from Josh about the opportunity I should pursue next. Then Josh said something that has stuck with me:

Everyone is greedy — you have to ask yourself if you are you long-term greedy or short-term greedy.

The answer to this poignant question helped me take the leap to startup-land (for a 3rd time).

But more importantly, I’ve now found myself using this very question to new candidates: ”are you long-term greedy or short-term greedy?” Although often times, I get the answer I want to hear, shortly after I get an email or a call back with what is really on the candidate’s mind. This is a fantastic filter if you’re hiring for an early stage startup.

The reality is that if you’re considering joining an early stage startup, you’re taking a HUGE gamble. You have to believe in the company’s vision. You have to believe that you are going to play a big part in making this company massively successful.

If you’re joining an early stage startup, make sure you’re ready for the ride. Short-term greed is not going to satiate you.