Finding the right people for your company like Kayak, Zappos and Twitter do

Finding the right people is a big challenge for many startups out there. And in order to build a dream-team that you’ll be having fun working with you’ve got to figure out a company’s culture as early as possible.

Some startups are so focused on product metrics that they overlook one of the most crucial things: defining core values of a culture. Once those values are identified and stated it’s simply a matter of paying attention to those traits in people who you want to hire.

This is how some of the best have done it.

KAYAK — a sense of humor. Once listening to Paul English giving a talk to us at TechStars I got mesmerized by his hiring approach at Kayak. It was as simple as looking for a sense of humor in a person. This seems pretty straightforward since the better the sense of humor somebody has the easier they tackle challenges and conflicts, which directly correlates to the overall progress. Upon knowing and working with some ex-Kayakers, I can say that those people are truly incredible and Paul did succeed at bringing together a dream team.

ZAPPOS — the weirder the better. Tony Hsieh (Zappos) has been known for building a company with one of the best cultures; selling shoes was secondary. One thing that Zappos figured out is that allowing people to express themselves freely makes them happier. Since Zappos is all about customer service such self-expression makes every phone call they process an enjoyable chat for both sides. The way Zappos hires people is looking for this self-expression in every person who comes to an interview — the weirder, the better. If somebody comes in a suit and a tie, that’s usually a no-go right away.

TWITTER — high tolerance of uncertainty. As for the early startups, I find one of the most valuable insights coming from Rich Paret. When hiring new team members make sure that everybody who joins you in this adventure has the right mindset of understanding the startup culture: а quick pace of changes and uncertainty. Those people who are quick learners and accept the fact that things might turn 180 degrees will contribute the most to a company’s growth.

These are a couple of the examples that I found interesting in how companies identify their core cultures to bring in the right people to build awesome products. For every founder they will differ and, trust me, they will depend on the founders’ personalities most of all.

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