Doc Harvard: It’s not often in the start up world that you get clean, straight forward and non-snake oil advice but I believe that Mike Alwill from Google has hit on something solid here. Normally I have a picture with my blogs but for this one I will forgo it to bring more focus on what is being said.
Take it away Mike –
What We Hear When We Listen
I have a tendency to overhear other people’s conversations without even trying. While at a bar, walking down the street or riding home on the subway, the words just find their way to me and all of a sudden I’m an audience member to someone else’s discussion.
Last night on my ride home I overheard three guys (a white dude, a black dude and an asian dude) discussing hiring strategy for startups. From their speech and clothing, I could tell they: A) had been drinking and B) were business students at NYU (they specifically mentioned the school several times).
The white dude also seemed to have his own startup (of 10 people) and was imparting his past experiences on the other two guys. Some of the topics included:
- Joint-hosting a party of several startups that required each attendee to bring two people who were not in a startup but who would be good for one
- The need to drink with a candidate to get their honest stance on particular issues
- Making sure you find out that a candidate would “go to happy hour with you at 3pm on a Tuesday but stay at work until midnight on Wednesday”
- Difficulty during salary negotiations such as “offering someone $33k but not knowing how to react if they ask for more OR the worry that if they do accept, maybe you could’ve offered them even less”
- How startups don’t make formal offers but instead are likely to make an offer while out drinking with a friend or candidate
The general theme seemed to be about assessing candidates and making sure you figure out how to get at their inner selves so you know if you’re getting someone of quality which from what I could infer seemed to be someone who drinks, doesn’t take a high salary and follows whatever work schedule you want them to.
Not once did these guys mention selling or proving themselves to the candidate as a justification for why a candidate would want to devote themselves to their startups.