Building a Top Team: Part 1

Tactics in Hiring — Featuring Glen Coates, Founder of Handshake

Scott Sigel
Sep 6, 2016 · 2 min read
Glen Coates, Founder and CEO, Handshake

Glen Coates, founder and CEO of Handshake, roots his decisions in quantifiable logic, but isn’t so glued to his own system to let it get in the way of his company’s and team’s success.

We recently hosted a breakfast in New York to hear more about Glen’s hiring and management mantra: “We Only Hire’em If We Love’em.” Don’t mistake this for a trite cliché; it’s worked wonders for the team so far. After recently closing on a $14MM Series B, Glen can still count on one hand the number of people he’s lost since founding the company in 2010 (it’s three).

Here are Glen’s tips for what you can do today to improve your hiring and management skills.

Hiring a Top Team

Define a Framework for the Open Position
● What’s the mission of the role?
● What are the key criteria to measure success?
● What are the competencies you need in this hire — and what questions will help you evaluate the candidate?

The more concretely you can measure team needs, the easier it is to spot fit in interviews, score candidates accurately, and evaluate what success looks like down the road.

Interview Experientially and Individually
● Lean on your framework
● Ask questions that that should produce specific examples: “Tell me about a time when…”
● Have each interviewer on your team focus on a specific area to maximize efficiency
● Score candidates on a scale that doesn’t allow for neutral opinions
● Have each interviewer commit to a candidate rating before joint discussion (avoid group-think)

Don’t Let the Process Get in the Way
While it’s important to base hiring decisions on a scoring system, Glen believes one should still trust their gut. If you find passion, dedication and adaptability in a candidate who doesn’t possess all of your required competencies, don’t let the minutiae get in the way of hiring someone who stands out in other ways.

Handshake’s Wall of Values!

Be sure to check out Part 2 of this story in which Glen discusses managing talent.

Scott Sigel

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Currently @CWCrypto. Formerly @SVB @scvngr @theLevelUp and @hatchco. Advisor @expa and @1776. Mentor @YearUp. Often found in boats without engines or cooking.