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Thursday
May172012

hiring: founders get interviewed



Founders Don’t Interview Candidates, it’s the Other Way Around - me, after an interview with Chad Walters lasted 8 months (I’m not kidding).  


As a founder, you need to come to grips that killer engineers are people who are not easily convinced.  Especially of you.  As I mentioned before, put your team in control over who gets invited to join the cult.  If you do, then you'll realize that by the time the person gets to you, they know and you know that you want to hire them.  If that's true, then you'll find the candidate will want to interview you.

Let them.  

Remember, you are a founder, which takes a special kind of risk-blindness crazy - it's what is different between the DNA of a founder and the DNA of employee #1 and onward.  

Killer engineers are going to be cautious, and rightfully so.  Go into the interview and remember that this person has an entirely different risk profile than you, that they will have other options if they are truly talented and that they are looking to see if you are the real deal, not a poser.  For you, you have already made the decision to risk everything to do your idea; for them, this is your idea and you are asking them to risk their career for you.  

So many founders get so caught up in the frenzy of creating their dream that they fail to take a moment to recognize and accept the weight and responsibility of asking others to join them on what may be a ludicrous endeavor.  Be the one that sees the situation through the eyes of the person you are hiring.  Listen to them, to their concerns.  Don't be a cocky dick to them, it's not the right time or the right thing to do.  In this situation, you are subservient to them, you are there to answer their questions.  Show them you have really thought through their concerns, that you have used rational thinking and logic.  Show them that you have more than just a great speech and a good TechCrunch article to back your claims up(most really good engineers have their prove-it-to-me-radar on full-tilt if you hype yourself up too much - a lesson I’m sure my co-founder at Powerset has learned). Show them you have a plan that is well-thought-through, and does not rely on luck, or hope.  Show them you are the real deal or they will walk.

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