Startup Hiring Should Focus on People, Not Their Skills

by David Cancel

When building a team at a fast-moving company — especially at a startup – it’s personal traits, not personal skills, that matter most.

As David Cancel, Chief Product Officer at Hubspot, points out in a post for his personal blog, “It can be tempting when you’re first growing to hire someone specifically to fill a gap in your company’s skill set.” But as is often the case in startup environments, situations can change quickly and often. And the downside of hiring strictly for skills is that those skills may not be a focal point forever. They may not be a focal point next month.

Skills don’t adapt. People do. That’s why Cancel believes in hiring people, not skills. Exactly what type of person is the best to look for varies by company and founder, of course, but in Cancel’s opinion cultural fit and personal drive are actually more important factors than experience. What are the qualities you feel are most important when searching out a new hire?

For more on why startup hiring should be about personal qualities, not skills, read Cancel’s full post here.

Related Content from OpenView:

As expansion-stage organizations plan for growth, human capital needs to be one of their biggest investments. The best product and/or service won’t take you anywhere if you don’t know how to place the right people in the right roles. It’s easy to determine a potential hire’s skills — simply take a look at their resume — but how do you drill down deeper to get a true sense of his or her personality traits? This OpenView Blog post has helpful hints on how to utilize behavioral interviewing to accomplish just that.