Over the past few months I have been sending my resume to a lot of companies, looking for my next challenge and opportunity. Some are new startups, some are established startups, and others are established tech companies. I’ve always run my own companies, and run my own hiring and review process, so it has been a great experience to experience how other people handle their recruiting.
I can always tell when there is no real process or system because I recognize it as something I’ve done myself in the past. It is more of a gut feeling hire, based on culture. I recognize it because I’ve done this myself, and it usually occurs in very early startups. You meet with the founder and they want to know if they want to spend 50–60 hours a week sitting next to you in a small room. They also want to know if you can help them build their dream. This is the equivalent to applying for a “friendly handy person” needed. You need to get along and have knowledge of a lot of different things. The most interesting thing I ever heard from someone at this stage is, “I like you because you have scars.” – Anyone who has ever worked in the startup world has battle scars. Some people get cut and go home. Other people keep going. The longer you work, the more scars you have, the stronger you become. And by stronger I mean, you become smarter on what not to do and you become more tolerant to pain. No one said learning is easy.
In all my experience interviewing, the best question I heard, and it was from an established tech company, was: “In three or four months, you stand up and walk out of the office. What was it that made you quit?”
This question threw me because I had never heard it before and because I thought it cuts right to the chase. What’s important to me? I can put up with a lot, but what is it I won’t put up with. I thought it was a really smart question.
For me personally, I am very big into team work and people pulling together. My response was that if I worked in an environment where people did not help one another, support each other or rally when things needed to get done, that would not be the right place for me. I’ve always believed in team work and team building and that is the kind of people that I enjoy being around.
So, what would make you get up and walk out after three months?
Thanks for sharing this journey with me. It wouldn’t be the same without you.