How have you hired your first employee? Mistakes and tips

4 replies
Hey folks, Hiring someone is a big deal. I wonder how you have hired your first employee ? Was it successful ? And more importantly, what were the mistakes that you did? Any advice or tips are welcome! Thank,


Manish Rawat
Outsourcing it to a reputed consultancy is the way to go if you are looking for an experienced candidate. It saves you a lot of time, effort, and money. It is good to have a training program for freshers, it does not cost much and you can hire the best trainee. The rest of the trainees get work experience which improves their resume. It's a win-win.
Dimitris Karavias
Hiring is your most important job as a founder. DO NOT outsource it, either directly or by simply googling "how to hire". Think from first principles: What should this person's contributions be over their first year? What cultural elements are non-negotiable for the organization you're building? What "commonly accepted" characteristics aren't important for you? In my case I need to hire software engineers for my fully remote company. They have to be good at coding & communication. I don't care about formal education, in fact being self-taught is a plus because I need proactive people who won't wait for a teacher/boss. I also don't care about location. Integrity is non-negotiable: One sign of lying during the process and they're out. I found people via Twitter and developer communities. I asked them to send their Github and not to send their CV. Github shows they can do the kind of work we need. CVs are a waste of time usually and lead to biases in favour of those with privileged backgrounds. Some ignored the instructions and sent CVs anyway, showing they don't pay attention to a written message even when communicating about something as important as their next job. So these instructions filtered out many. Then I had 1 hour calls with each candidate where me & my engineering lead asked about the projects they had done in detail. You can quickly spot bullshitters when your questions are specific. Everything above is to establish that they have the skills we need. Then, to assess behaviour, we do a 1 week paid trial. Much better than hypothetical questions and riddles. So far 3/3 have continued beyond the trial. Onboarding was probably my biggest issue, I wasn't proactive enough with some of them and didn't spend enough 1-1 time explaining the vision, the team, their role, how we work. I'm fixing this by adding more info on the company Notion board plus a checklist for me with everything I need to do with the next joiner. I will also assign new joiners a "buddy"- a colleague responsible for supporting them during their first months. The new joiner gets help, the buddy gets mentoring experience. This is a long answer but you need to invest time into your hiring skills & process. You need the right team to build the right company!
For a first hire and a first-time recruiter, I would suggest the following: 1/ Dont hire based on friendship 2/ Be realistic share your vision but don't sell dreams 3/ Don't underpay, you'll get crappy applications 4/ Establish your companies culture basis (at least in theory) getting people sharing the same values make things smoother 5/ Define clear mission and expectations 6/ Use an upfront filter (survey, test, etc) 7/ Do a 2 rounds interview, use the help of a subject matter expert if you are not. that's a good start :)