One of the most rewarding (and challenging) parts of building a company is forming a great team. In the early days, we’re all striving to find the elusive product/market fit. But in order to build a lasting company or product(s) that exceed our customers needs, we need to first start with a strong foundation for growth; a solid team.
While growing our team at Continu, we’ve realized one of the biggest attributes to look for in candidates is passion. Passionate people break down barriers and find the best solutions to problems – they are hungry to learn and develop their experience and they seek out the hard tasks in the best interest of the company/product.
Unfortunately, Passion isn’t the easiest thing to quantify. You can’t test for it in a quiz or read about it in a resume. So in order to find truly passionate people, we’ve identified a few techniques which have helped us learn which candidates to pay close attention to:
Look Past the Resume
It’s important not to put too much emphasis on a resume. At the end of the day a resume only highlights past experiences and doesn’t necessarily translate to future performance. It's a good guide to show track record of a candidate, but shouldn’t be the only determining factor. Instead, we turn to other hints about the person, like a side project they might be working on or a link to a social site that might give us insight into their interests and hobbies. It's often the things that people do outside of their work life that highlights what they are truly passionate about and motivated by.
While growing our team at Continu, we’ve realized one of the biggest attributes to look for in candidates is passion.
Seek Problem Solvers
Whether you’re seeking engineers, designers or biz dev folks; finding problem solvers that can think creatively is key. We don’t run traditional tests during interviews and instead ask questions to prompt immediate problem solving. Will a candidate try to solve a design problem we’ve discussed with them without being prompted? How do they think about a certain process and how would they improve it? How have they worked with others in the past to solve challenging problems outside of their role? These are all things we look for when trying to find real problem solvers. We seek doers that are curious and hungry to find answers.
Don’t Overrate Experience
Experience is important, but how much upfront experience is necessary as opposed to experience being gained over time and focused learning? Every role is different and each requires more or less experience. What we’ve learned is that it is often better to look for candidates with moderate experience and a strong willingness to learn quickly on the job. As a company, we aim to build a culture of learners, so this often fits that goal.
We’ve also learned that experience doesn’t always equal results and often the most experienced people aren’t as nimble or willing to change as we would have hoped. Experience can often bring with it an unwillingness to try ‘out of the box’ methods and as a company trying to do things different, this often doesn’t align with what we value.
We're all motivated by different things. For some people it's money, recognition or higher achievement. What we have learned, is that passionate people generally aren't motivated in the same way. Of course, everyone has a minimum financial expectation based on where they are located and their current situation. But generally, we find that passionate people are motivated first by the opportunity or the work they will be doing - they often tell us about the team environment they would love to be part of or the type of work that would motivate them to come to work each day.
How do you hire and what are the attributes you look for in a future team member? We're always learning and would love to continue the conversation.
Also, if you're passionate and looking for your next new challenge, we’re hiring.