Evaluating High-Level Early Hires

Finding a co-founder can be a challenge. Especially for non-technical founders. I was chatting with one today who asked about my early founder experience evaluating people who might become cofounders or high-level team members.

There are lots of examples of teams with high-caliber individuals who can’t make it work as a team. For this reason and others, I opted to evaluate two potential leaders by working with them before extending full-time offers.

There was no shortage of problems that needed to be solved, so I created two projects of short duration—a few weeks to a month—and assigned each of them to a project, paying them as a consultant to solve it. I was able to gauge their working styles, and they were able to gauge mine. The projects were a success, and I knew I could work with each of them individually.

The next thing I needed to figure out was if we could all work together as a team. I created another short-term project for the three of us to collaborate on. I tried to make sure each person contributed strategically and tactically to the project. It turned out that we worked well together, and I was ready to add them to the team full-time.

With this approach, I was able to evaluate these two people individually and then as part of a team with me. It gave me confidence not only in their individual abilities but also in our chemistry. In the end, this team helped scale the company to eight-figure revenue.

This approach won’t work for all founders, but it worked for me.