Marc Andreessen: How to hire the best people you’ve ever worked with - Deepstash
Creating A Culture Of Learning

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Creating A Culture Of Learning

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Criteria for hiring great people

Criteria for hiring great people

People will tell you to hire for intelligence, but intelligence is overrated. Other hiring criteria are equally or more important. 

  • Drive. Self-motivation will cause people to push and push until they succeed. 
  • Curiosity. Anyone who loves what they do will be intensely curious about it.
  • Ethics. Ethics are hard to test for, but if you see any whiff of less than stellar ethics, avoid the candidate.


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You can see drive in a candidate's eyes and background.

  • Look for what someone has done, not just been involved in or been part of. For example, they started a business in high school. They started and ran a nonprofit in high school.
  • If you can't find anything - if the candidate has just followed the rules their whole lives without achieving something distinct and notable, they probably aren't driven. You're not going to change them.


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Someone who loves what they do will read about it, study it, talk to other people about it, immerse themselves in it and work like anything to stay current.

Anyone who isn't curious doesn't love what they do.  And you should hire people who love what they do.


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Unethical people are unethical by nature, and the odds of conversion are quite low. Ministers and priests should give people another chance, not hiring managers at startups.

  • One way to test for honesty is to see how they react when they don't know something.  They'll either say they don't know, or they'll talk nonsense and hope you won't notice. 
  • If they're trying to deceive you during the hiring process, they'll deceive you once they're onboard.


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How to run the hiring process

  1. Have a written hiring process and ensure everyone has a paper copy of it. Many startups have a random hiring process and hire randomly.
  2. Do basic skills tests. Ask them basic questions about how to do things in their domain. For a sales rep, have them sell you on your product all the way to a closed deal. For a marketing person, have them whiteboard out a launch for your new product. 
  3. Plan out and write down interview questions.
  4. Pay attention to the little details during the interview process to show what the person will be like.
  5. Pay attention to the small things during the reference calls.


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Fixing hiring mistakes

  • Know that while you're going to hate firing someone, you'll feel way better after the fact.
  • Realise that the great people on your team will be happy that you've done it as they knew the person wasn't working out. But watch how you fire people, as others will watch how you deal with people.
  • Realise that you're often doing the person a favour as you're releasing them from a role where they won't get promoted or valued.

Be sure to value the people on your team as they are exceptional.


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