How to recruit the right skills for your team

Building a team that can get the job done is the primary role of all leaders and founders. While this may include strategy and operations work, it all starts with recruiting talent. Great talent can always achieve more with less process or strategic clarity than employees who are not well suited to the task, so everything a leader does is secondary to recruiting. Many leaders struggle to determine what skills or experience are necessary for specific roles or teams because it is challenging to find candidates who tick every box. I believe the best way to build high-performing teams is to recruit a patchwork of skills and experience.

Candidates generally fit into these high-level categories:

For example, when hiring a product manager for a B2B SaaS product that targets the hospitality industry, the experience to look for might look like this:

The same company hiring a customer success manager would look like this:

In both of these examples, it is easy to imagine how a candidate who fits these criteria would be the perfect recruit. Unfortunately, while some candidates may fit into multiple categories, finding people who fit into all three can be challenging. Additionally, broadly experienced candidates rarely go deep into any specific area, which may water down their effectiveness. This challenge is why the best way to recruit is to build a team of individuals with complementary experience that collectively have broad experience. Instead of looking for individual candidates with all these traits, build a team with combined expertise in these areas.

In the early days of startup building, one or two individuals will power most functions. This resource constraint can make building a solid patchwork of experience and skills challenging, so it is essential to consider what type of experience is most important for your team. For example:

By being intentional about what types of experience are most important for each role, and considering team-wide capability rather than individual capability, leaders and founders can create powerful teams and nail the first and most crucial step of startup building.

15 August, 2022

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