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Reid Hoffman: Dedicate 10% of Your Time to Recruiting

At a recent conference, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman shared advice he wished he'd had 10 years ago.

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman will tell you exactly what he should have spent more time doing when the company launched in 2003: Recruiting.

This was what Hoffman said Monday at the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco, which had 1,500 attendees. Since launching a decade ago, LinkedIn is now a public company with nearly 4,000 employees. 

"If I were to go back and tell myself in 2002, 2003, what I should have spent more time doing was essentially taking 10 percent of my schedule -- or 20 percent of my schedule -- and just shifted it to that," Hoffman said.

Hoffman clarified, saying he doesn’t mean he wished he had personally responded to each job applicant. Rather, he should have looked at every talented person he ever met as a possible LinkedIn hire

"You should constantly be talking to great people -- not just those who apply to a job listing -- with the idea, long term, of recruiting them into the company," Hoffman said.

On the topic of long-term thinking Hoffman had more to add. He told the first-time entrepreneurs in the room that, statistically speaking, this first company wasn’t likely to be their last. 

"A surprising number of the Web 2.0 companies -- myself at LinkedIn, Pinterest and Zynga, etcetera, etcetera -- are actually repeat founders," Hoffman said. 

For that reason, it’s important to maintain a dual mindset; continue to give this company your all, but keep the "long game" in mind, Hoffman said. You efforts today will come in handy when financing your second startup later. 

One of the best ways to prep for a second, or even third, startup attempt is to begin cultivating lasting relationships now Hoffman said. "Pay attention to that, build those for real, be generous and be building alliances. Trade inside information with them as well," he said.   

Last updated: Dec 9, 2013

LAURA MONTINI | Staff Writer

Laura Montini is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco.

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