Will They Be a Good Cofounder?

Yesterday I shared some ideas about how to position yourself to find a co-founder. If you’re like most founders, you’re a first-timer, and you may not have hiring experience. You’re ill-equipped to evaluate whether a potential co-founder is a good fit. So what do you do?

At CCAW I was in that situation. I was on a hamster wheel and desperately trying to get off. I was looking for my first in-office hire (we had distributed team members), and I was struggling. Trying to figure out whether a candidate was a good fit was much harder than I had expected.

At the time, I was subleasing office space from an EO Atlanta member. He’d been an entrepreneur for almost two decades. I regularly talked with him about things I was trying to figure out. Those informal conversations were invaluable. When I told him about my hiring problem, he made an amazing offer. “How about I interview one of your candidates and you sit in. I can show you better than I can tell you.” I happily agreed. I was able to watch him in action, and I learned a ton. He was able to help me realize the candidate wasn’t the right one.

Finding the right co-founder is critical. If you have someone in mind, consider getting input from credible people. If you and the candidates are having conversations or doing things together to get to know one another, consider inviting someone to join you—a credible entrepreneur would be good if you know one. If you’ve raised capital from credible investors, consider getting their input. Whomever you ask to join you, make sure they have a track record of evaluating talent or some experience with entrepreneurial partnerships. Your goal is to have them compensation for your blind spots.

Finding a co-founder is no walk in the park, but there are things you can do to make it a bit easier (notice I didn’t say easy). Getting the perspective of credible people can help you avoid a bad partnership and quickly confirm when you’ve found someone great!