Question: What’s one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs who are just starting to hire C-level talent?
1. What’s in a Resume?
“Intelligence, cultural fit, and an ability to work with the team are the most important factors that you should consider when interviewing C-level talent. Don’t be dazzled by their accomplishments. A resume should be one of the last items that you look at.”
“Take your time and work through the Topgrading hiring process. We use it for all hires, but have found it gave us a great framework for evaluating all of the dimensions of pivotal C-level candidates.”
“Integrating a C-level executive into an established corporate culture takes time and ongoing responsiveness. Create phases of transition for the executive to move into the role at a comfortable pace. Make yourself available to offer moral support and strategic guidance.”
“Before you launch into the hiring process for C-level talent, make sure you articulate the metrics of success for the position. These benchmarks will help inform the candidates that you screen and the questions that you ask in the interview process. Ultimately, knowing the key success metrics will help the executive as well; they can better evaluate the job fit and will be more likely to succeed.”
“Remember that executives will set the tone for the company. Don’t underestimate the recommendations given by references and be sure to actually check references. These are people that have worked next to the C-level candidate and can often shed light on important personality traits like how they respond to stress or friction in the workplace. Ask the provided references for additional referrals.”
“Hire people you like to be around more every time you meet with them. Startups require people to wear a lot of hats and interact with each other frequently. Don’t hire people who grate on your nerves, or you’ll feel like you can never get away from them.”
“The success of a C-level employee hinges on buy-in from the entire team. Will they be able to trust and work with this person? Have team leads involved in each step of the interview process. Debrief regularly with everyone to hear their input and gauge their feelings. This will accelerate your efforts finding someone who meshes well with the organization, and adds to the established culture.”
“Be careful when hiring big wigs from large companies to sit in your chief seats. Individual success within those organizations is achieved by walking a different path than the one your startup is on. Look for someone with experience taking a company from where you are now to where you want to be, and then confirm that they share a belief and passion for your vision.”