Hire for culture fit first

Hiring is one of founder’s most important jobs —without great hires no company can be great.

As a founder you should be hiring people that are better than you, people that can complement your skills, and people that have potential to grow with the company.

Hiring can be divided in two components: competency and culture fit.

Everyone looks for competency when hiring: how good the candidates are on the job, how they behave when faced with challenges, how they collaborate with teammates, and so on.

What some founders tend to despise though, is culture fit. It’s frequent to see founders worried only with competency while ignoring culture fit.

Culture is a mixture o behaviours, interests, and values, that you can see and feel when working within and with the company.

A company’s culture is much harder to describe and quantify than the set of skills you have and need. Thus, is more difficult to identify which person will or will not fit in. But your company has a culture, be it strong or weak, good or bad.

When you hire someone that doesn’t fit, three things tend to happen:

  1. The hire feels this isn’t the right place for him, and sooner or later leaves the company— everyone just lost their time.
  2. Conflicts arise, coming from him or his teammates. This can take weeks, months, or even years to happen, but it’s just like a ticking bomb that will damage part of your startup.
  3. You create a weak link in the chain. If you add too many weak links, the chain (your startup) will eventually break. This tends to go invisible for much time and, when founders take notice, it’s too late.

So when hiring, look for people that share your company’s values, behaviours and interests. Remember to be open to new “tastes”, as long as they blend well. But remember to look for culture fit first — don’t fall in the error of hiring a rockstar that’s a douchebag. Hire for culture fit first.

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