The Equalture Story (1): Hiring our very first colleague with our very own hiring technology.
By Charlotte Melkert, Co-Founder & CEO @ Equalture
Wauw, that was scary — to say the least. Maybe even scarier than building your own product. Using your own product yourself. I will never forget the moment when Fleur (my twin sister and the other Co-Founder of Equalture) and I were hiring our very first colleague and said to each other: ‘’Wauw, this actually works.’’
Why I love falling in love with your own idea
Fleur and I started building Equalture together with a team of freelance developers in 2017. We deliberately chose not to hire developers at that stage of our journey since everything seemed so insecure at that point. We were working on bringing an idea to life that we fell in love with. But I always kept in my mind what one person in that stage said to me.
‘’ Falling in love with your idea is the most dangerous thing you can do now. Love makes you blind. It will stimulate you to build your ideal product, not the product that other people are searching for. ‘’
That’s what she said to me. And yes, I think she was true. For 90%. But for 10% she was wrong. Fleur and I fell in love with our own product. And yes, I agree that‘s a dangerous thing to do. However, in our case it meant that at no single point we lost sight of our vision by listening to too many people at the same time. And that resulted in the fact that we were able to create an MVP within 10 months. And we were happy with it.
However, we also knew that this was the point where you need to let go of the butterflies and to gather a team of people around you to make sure everyone will love your product within one year. So that’s what we did.
Our first and most important hire
Our very first hire was our CTO. The first hire and at the same time the hire with the largest risks. If it’s your goal as a founder to build a successful SaaS-company, tech is everything. So we had to hire a person with the perfect tech skills and someone at C-level with just as much rights to say something as we have.
Luckily this was the first time for me as a founder that I couldn’t be more happy with my network. We got connected to Jaap, our CTO, through one of our advisors. And it immediately seemed to work. Jaap shared our vision, was super enthusiastic, a mastermind when it came to technology ánd he actually wanted to work with us as well.
If it had been up to me I would have offered Jaap a contract during this first diner where we met each other. Maybe that’s just the uninhibited enthusiasm that all founder suffer from. But how hypocrite would that be? We just finished the MVP for a technology to predict a candidate’s job success and then, when it came to a hiring potential, I almost forgot to use it. So yes, although it was scary (I admit that immediately), Jaap was our very first own candidate that went through our system.
I will never forget the feeling of excitement, surprise and joy Fleur and I felt at the same time when we saw the results. He actually did a great job. More than great. Although we never doubted Jaap, this was our own use case to prove that the system worked. Or at least it seemed to work.
One week later, Jaap signed his contract. At Sept 1th he joined our team as CTO — not knowing that now he already has a team of 3 developers.
5 months later: The evaluation
It’s now 5 months later, so at this point we can actually evaluate whether our successfulness prediction was right or not.
I dare to say without a doubt that hiring Jaap was one of the best choices I’ve made so far as an entrepreneur. And it doesn’t even feels like I’ve hired Jaap. We’re operating at the same level within this company so he’s just as important as we are. So the conclusion: we had a more than successful hire. Exactly like our very own pre-hiring technology predicted.
I can’t think of a better success story than this one when clients ask me for a reference. And now, 5 months later, we’ve already signed our 7th team member. With the help of our own product that we fell in love with. How cool is that.