You Are Overthinking Startup Hiring

You Are Overthinking Startup Hiring

I. The Problem: Seeking Diamonds But Finding Cubic Zirconia

The thrusters are rumbling. The countdown has begun. Your startup rocket ship is ready to blast off into the stratosphere, prepared to soar past the competition. But who will navigate the controls, monitor the engines, and chart the course to those distant stars? Certainly not the seasoned astronauts from NASA or hotshot pilots with fancy degrees.

No, for this wild ride, you need a scrappy, daring crew with sharp instincts, quick wits, and brave hearts beating for adventure.

Yet finding these gems is harder than spotting diamonds glinting in the rough.

Despite your best mining efforts, your hiring screens often turn up cubic zirconia — candidates with credentials sparkling but inner fire lacking. They may boast the polish and pedigree you sought on paper, but fail to thrive in your scrappy startup environment.

So, how do you uncover the real diamonds?

II. Flipping the Script: Assess Attitude Over Aptitude

Rather than judging polish or prior experience, seek out the self-starters and diligent doers, those who carved their own trails because the beaten path looked boring.

Find thoughtful minds not constrained by shoulds and woulds but led by their own internal compass. While lacking the CV shine, they have knowledge hard won from wrestling real problems, emerging smarter and tougher from the tussle.

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.—Nietzsche

So, how to identify these diamonds glinting just under the surface?

First, watch how they tell their tales, highlighting their grit, creativity, and ingenuity. Do they describe meeting challenges with scrappy solutions, mustering the motivation to push projects over the finish line when others wavered? Listen for how they connected the dots in fresh ways, with more visionary vista than narrow focus.

Second, listen for their vision, that spark of originality that drives them. Is it coherent and considered or a mere fantasy? Can they articulate how past choices and interests have informed their outlook?

Third, check their chassis for dents and cracks. They should bear some battle scars but not be battered beyond repair. A healthy chip on the shoulder can provide powerful fuel.

Score attitude over aptitude. Skills can be learned but mindset is harder to instill.

III. The Rare Rebels: Why They’re Worth the Work

These diamonds in the rough are not as rare as the Hope Diamond, but they glimmer with special brilliance. Once aboard your rocket ship, they will take pressure and polish beautifully, forming the heart of your crew. Their daring and dedication makes them invaluable in startups.

Yet being so singular, they are accustomed to charting their own course. After all, they carved their own unconventional path rather than following the herd. So attracting them takes insight into what makes them tick.

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.—Camus

First, recognize you are competing against their own inner drive and ambition. They are used to wrestling their own demons and dragons. Make sure your mission excites them as much as their personal goals. Appeal to their appetite for adventure and audacity.

Second, acknowledge you cannot motivate them. They propel themselves. Offer fuel and direction but let their engines run hot on their own spark. Stoke their fire with challenges to conquer and autonomy to chart their own trajectories.

Third, actively affirm their attitudes and approaches. These diamonds are used to being misunderstood, dismissed as too raw. Continually reinforce that you value their originality and fresh thinking as assets.

In short, do not try to polish or improve these rare gems. Let their sharp edges glint. Help them shine brighter by removing roadblocks and clearing the path for them to charge ahead. Feed their fire and follow their fearless lead to the stars.

IV. The Final Countdown: Making It Work With These Rare Rebels

Once you have these audacious diamonds aboard, how do you retain them for the long haul? With care and feeding of their independent spirits.

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.—Sartre

First, give them ownership and autonomy suited to their appetite. They left the safe but boring beaten paths to find freedom on your rocket ship. Let them take the controls at times and choose creative ways to contribute.

Second, help them help themselves. Guide their growth but resist over-managing. Lend support dismantling obstacles and provide resources for them to build their skills. Mentor lightly to supplement their self-motivation.

Third, keep your ear to the ground. Listen closely for signs of frustration and fading engagement. Nip restlessness in the bud by revisiting their goals and remixing their roles. Head off departure by showing there is still space to soar within your startup.

Finally, align values and validate their vision. Beyond thrills, these diamonds seek meaning. Link their quest to your mission. Show how their daring and dedication helps achieve shared goals. Let them spark big ideas and blaze new trails to the target.

V. Final Boarding Call

The startup launch clock is ticking. Soon that rocket ship will sail skyward with or without you. So stop overthinking and start seeking the fire within your candidates. Never mind the lack of credentials. Someone with the right stuff will shine through. Once aboard, these audacious diamonds will take your startup into the stratosphere and beyond.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.—Marcus Aurelius

Who needs seasoned astronauts when you have raw rebels ready to chart the course to the stars? All aboard!

Score attitude over aptitude. Skills can be learned but mindset is harder to instill.