Do not be like Friendster : Hire people who care

Jonathan Abrams, chief executive officer of Nuzzel Inc., stands for a photograph after a Bloomberg West Television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Nuzzel Inc. provides a stream of links that collects all the most-shared content on social network feeds and presents them in a easy-to-read format. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Heard of Facebook, but have you heard of Friendster?

There are very few people who have heard of Friendster , but I think we all have heard of Facebook. Even if you do not like Facebook its likely that you use one or more of the company’s products such as Whatapp, Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is a mutli-billion dollar company , that dominate social media, but it was not the first. Friendster was the original Facebook, it was meant to be the booming company that Facebook is today. Facebook, even gives credit to Freindster as the base idea they built upon. There are several reasons that Friendster failed, such as the fact that the technology was different at the time and much harder to cater for large volumes of people, and therefore restricting their ability to scale effectively. However a huge contributing factor to the failure of the company, was the people that Friendster hired.

Hire people who respect you.

If you have ever had the experience of working with engineers, you will know that they love to be the smartest in the room. I work in the tech space and I have interacted with several engineers, I love them all, but there is a general consensus that engineers have a tendency of rubbing people the wrong way.

One of the biggest problem with Friendster, is that once the company started to grow, the best and most talented software engineers were hired to solve the problems the company was faced with. The problem was a lot of these experienced and talented engineers did not respect the founder of Friendster , and they doubted his ability to manage the business. This created a ripple effect in the company, because the employees did not respect the founder, they also did not respect the vision for the company.

Hire people who share your vision

As your team grows, so will the richness in the ideas and perspectives that exist within the business, but it is important that you stay true to the vision of the company. The vision is the framework for the business, and if this is changed so is the business. When the vision of the company is challenged it leads to bad dynamics  and tension in the business, and this overall effects the outcome of the business.If your employees do not share your vision they will not have the drive to see that vision through. I am a strong believer that a team player who shares your vision and your passions is more valuable than a “talented” and “qualified” employee.

So how to find the perfect hire?

For start-ups this is key, because you often have to do the interviews and find the people yourself. As the company grows you can hire human resources experts guide the process.

So here are some of the key qualities you are looking for in an employee:

  1. An employee who understands what the business does.
  2. An employee that understands and appreciates  the vision and the mission of the business.
  3. An employee that shares the vision for the company.
  4. An employee who is willing to go the extra mile.
  5. An employee that has a track record show casing them as a hard worker.

How you find it:

Here are some questions that will help you identify the best hires for the job.

1.Tell me about a time there was no clear answer to a project. What did you do? How did you move forward? 

I like these questions , particularly for start-ups because start-ups are hard and therefore require endurance and tenacity from all employees.

2.Tell me about the last time your day ended before you were able to get everything done.

This is a good question to measure someone’s work ethic.

3.Tell me about a time you had to raise an uncomfortable issue with another employee. Then tell me about a time you praised a coworker. What did you do?

This is a great question to understand how well the candidate works with others.

4.What is the company’s unfair competitive advantage? Why will it be sustained?

This is perhaps one of my most favourite question, because it requires the candidate to have a good understanding of how the business works.

5.What is your unfair competitive advantage?

This is a great way to evaluate what the candidate believes to be their biggest strength (s).


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