Talent 103: Hiring

Prime Movers Lab
Oct 30 · 5 min read

Suggestions for Your Hiring Process

This is one portion of a three part post focused on recruiting, interviewing and hiring talent.

Offer

Contract to Hire

Depending on the role, you should consider contract-to-hire with 4–8 week contract periods at their expected salary converted to a contractor bi-weekly payment. The contractor period gives you a safety mechanism for an out, and time to make them believe in the company and want a bigger piece of equity so they take the high equity offer ultimately. The Hiring Manager/Point of Contact should gauge the likelihood of the candidate accepting this contract-to-hire.

Letter

Offers should be going to very few candidates. This is a huge deal and the most important decision you make. You should aim to have virtually no turnover rate and so you need to only hire people who are going to be around for a long time to contribute and grow with the company.

Delivery

It is suggested to create your own offer ritual that is special and unique such that everyone will receive an offer in essentially the same exciting way.

In that ritual, the offer should be explained almost word for word and your mission should be reiterated. The candidate should be given time to ask questions, and the various equity and salary packages should be explained. This ritual should not be broken. It is important to set timing expectations, of when the offer expires (indicating when they’ll need to accept or decline the offer by). Once they accept (could be immediate) they get a welcome email, and every team member working with them directly should send a personal note and welcome them to the team.

Onboarding

Pre-boarding

Before a new team member arrives, their computer (should be approved by Hiring Manager as to ensure they have the proper equipment to do their job effectively), monitors, headphones, keyboard, desk, chair and other gadgets should be purchased for them in consultation with the new hire. The new teammate should be regularly engaged with and kept in the loop as you make progress. Often it might be a month before someone joins and this is an important time to include them in social events and start building a bond with the team (‘love bombing’).

They should also be set up in your tools so they can start exploring and getting familiar. Technical hires should be given learning resources for the tools you use well in advance of the start date. This will give them the opportunity to hit the ground running.

First Day

During a new teammate’s first day, a few key objectives should be accomplished:

  1. Do productive work. This shows that you make it easy to get started doing what they came to do.

First Week

By the end of the first week, they should have a 1 on 1 and review how they are doing with their manager to make sure that everything is starting well.

If at all possible, they should meet with the CEO or at least one co-founder to share feedback and build a relationship with the company’s leadership — regardless of their role.

The whole team (or immediate team) should make sure there is a good social event in the first week, to give them an early opportunity to build friendships with teammates outside the context of work.

First Month

A person should feel like part of the team and be comfortable. They should have met with all co-founders 1 on 1 if possible to give feedback and build a relationship. They should have formed some inside jokes with all members of their team and feel part of the family. This is the make or break time. If the new person or the company doesn’t think it is working well based on this first month — then it should be called off. A month in, everyone should know enough about the working relationship to decide to proceed. The new teammate’s manager must make a decision in the first month to fire if that is going to occur, because waiting longer becomes devastating to the team’s cadence. A thorough review of the first month and what has gone well and poorly should be completed with the new teammate, regardless of how well the first month has gone.

Retention

Excellence

The number one reason teammates will stay is high standards of excellence. Being very good at what you do and challenging each other to grow as professionals and individuals is crucial. To retain top talent over the long term, you must perform at an exceptionally high level, solve extremely challenging problems and only hire top talent. You must demand a lot of yourself and those around you so that you all become the best versions of yourselves.

Top-performers want to work with peers and want to grow rapidly in a fast-paced environment facing the hardest challenges. Excellence goes hand in hand with successfully tackling the toughest problems.

Values

You must be a values-driven team. You should define a core set of explicit values that you use to evaluate hires, critical business decisions, communications processes, firing decisions, compensation decisions, and day-to-day thinking. These values define each of you and your teammates as a whole. By remaining true to your values, you will attract and retain people who share those values and seek to work with values-driven partners. Teammates share a deep bond of trust based on these shared values that makes it difficult to imagine working with other teams with different core values.

Mission

You must not accept those who do not believe in it. People want to know their work matters and is fundamentally world-changing. By only welcoming teammates who believe in the importance of your mission, you ensure that your team is driven by your core mission. People will be excited to contribute whatever is needed in order to accomplish a noble mission they believe in.

Benefits

You should value your teammates. Consequently, treat them well. Everyone should get top of the line benefits, market compensation, and big ownership stakes.

Regular Feedback

No system will remain perfect. You should continuously solicit feedback and establish practices to encourage open honest feedback from teammates. Only by constantly evaluating your organization’s communication, planning, strategy, and operations and learning what works well for teammates can you optimize your workplace to make everyone as happy as possible.

Prime Movers Lab

Backing breakthrough scientific inventions transforming billions of lives.

Prime Movers Lab

Written by

Backing breakthrough scientific startups transforming billions of lives across energy, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing,and human augmentation.

Prime Movers Lab

Backing breakthrough scientific inventions transforming billions of lives.

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