Startup Success–How to hire great people.

January 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business, Startup 

In my previous posts I have discussed how important people are to making a great startup, In this post I will outline the characteristics that I think make for great people to help make you startup or your business a success. 

I think the number one character trait in looking for great people is simple… Integrity.  If you think about it, this is a great characteristic and makes for easy decisions, but how do you know if a person has integrity?  This is the most challenging aspect of this requirement, however you can read how people respond to problems, you can examine a resume and look for any red flags that show lapses in integrity, but to start to answer this question lets look at the core qualities of integrity so we can unpack this and see if there is some guidance we can use to make this clear.




1 – Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy,[1] in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.


I really like the part where it is the opposite of hypocrisy, so we are looking for an honest and ethical person.  I would hope most people would have this virtue, but unfortunately this is most likely a rare trait.  Some things to consider,

a) Do they claim to know things but don’t know them as well?

b) Do they take credit for everything or offer to give credit where it is due?

c) Listen to everything they say, usually there will be very straightforward times, especially when you have them tell you a story about a time they had a challenge, or learning something new, these are revealing to the persons true nature.

d) Watch their behavior for kindness, and politeness

Lets say you found a candidate, here are the other qualities in the order of importance.

2 – Motivation is similar to passion and only if the person has integrity will there motivations be in the best interest of the company.  With the proper motivation everything else will fall into place, this is important to be sure the candidate has motivation as well!


3 – Capacity is in third that with the proper motivation if they have capacity they can then understand what is needed and why things are important, and how to make things improve.


4 – Understanding is impossible without capacity as you really limit your understanding if you have no capacity to understand!


5 – Knowledge is meaningless without understanding!


6 – Experience is blind without knowledge!

How strange this is, that usually hiring decisions are based on experience instead of the things that fall in place with the proper foundation!