What’s the best way to hire?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Default Alive or Default Dead?

It’s roughly correct to say that YC’s most successful companies have never been the fastest to hire, and one of the marks of a great founder is being able to resist this urge [to hire]

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Some Thoughts On Workplace Diversity – AVC

Diversity is a good thing for many reasons. It opens up a company to a multiplicity of ideas, opinions, and connections to the market. And the reasons for this lack of diversity stem from two primary (and related and self reinforcing) things, not enough women and underrepresented minorities setting themselves early enough on a career path in tech and societal biases against tech as a “proper career” for women and underrepresented minorities. The… (read more)

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
MBA Mondays: Culture And Fit – AVC

Don’t hire a token woman. Hire as many women as you can. Don’t hire a token person from another country. Hire from all around the world (and become an expert in our bullshit immigration system). Don’t hire a token “gray haired” type. Hire up and down the age and experience spectrum.

Stephen Cohen (Co-founder and EVP at Palantir Technologies)
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 5 Notes Essay

[in a Q&A] Question: What if engineers are in love with something else, but you think they’d fall in love with your company if they were to join you? Stephen Cohen: Reframe that question in a marriage context. Don’t you think that would make for a higher than normal rate of divorce?

Stephen Cohen (Co-founder and EVP at Palantir Technologies)
Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup – Class 5 Notes Essay

There is probably some sum of money you could pay to any engineer to work at Palantir and give it their all for one year. But there is no sum of money that you could pay any engineer to go all-out for ten years. Humans can’t muster that amount of sustained focus and energy if they don’t love what they’re doing. The folks who fall in love aren’t asking details about salary, trying to extract every penny.

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
How to hire – Sam Altman

Spend more time on it. Get your hands dirty. Look for smart, effective people. Have people audition for roles instead of interviewing for them. Trust your gut. Hire people you like. Don’t compromise. Fire fast. Don’t hire [until you are ready].

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
Default Alive or Default Dead?

Don’t hire too fast. Hiring too fast is by far the biggest killer of startups that raise money

Mark Suster (Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures)
Do Less. More. | Bothsides of the Table

Hire fewer employees until you’re bursting at the seems with work for the ones you have.

Ryan Howard (Founder @ Practice Fusion)
Transcript: Protecting yourself as the founder; Ryan Howard | VatorNews

A great candidate should be able to explain and deconstruct how they solve a specific issue at an excruciatingly low level. This is actually Elon Musk’s Litmus Test for hiring and this is something we found of service to us quite well. The other thing we learned over time is we tested everyone and it worked really well. Practice Fusion always had a top-25 rank culture in the Valley. When a developer would come in, we would effectively let them wr… (read more)

Gautam Mukunda (Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School)
Great Leaders Don’t Need Experience

It’s the outsiders without lots of experience, who perform the very best. Those people are also more likely to crash and burn. [Outside] leaders are high risk, high reward

Ron Conway (Founder & Co-Managing Partner @ SV Angel)
Ron Conway, Mike Maples Jr. – Angel Investing Revealed by Stanford eCorner | Free Listening on SoundCloud

I’m huge on backdoor references

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: The top things

Every job candidate ought to be able to outline the five lessons learned from the leaders they’ve worked with previously. Those unwilling or unable to do so are not paying attention.
The number one thing to steal from your competitors: Wisdom.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Hiring Executives: If You’ve Never Done the Job, How Do You Hire Somebody Good? – Ben’s Blog

Write down the strengths you want and the weaknesses that you are willing to tolerate. The first step is to write down what you want. In order to ensure completeness, I find it useful to include criteria from the following sub-divisions when hiring executives: Will the executive be world class at running the function? Is the executive outstanding operationally? Will the executive make a major contribution to the strategic direction of the company… (read more)

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Hiring Executives: If You’ve Never Done the Job, How Do You Hire Somebody Good? – Ben’s Blog

By writing down questions that test for what you want, you will get to a level of specificity that will be extremely difficult to achieve otherwise. As examples, below I include questions that I wrote for running the enterprise sales function and operational excellence.
Questions for head of enterprise sales force: Is she smart enough? Can she effectively pitch me on her current company?
How articulate is she on the company and market opportuni… (read more)