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TEAM BUILDING

5 Ways to Prevent Bad Hires

How to recruit the right people to keep your business moving fast and maintain a positive culture.

Nothing will sink a business faster than bad hires. From product development to culture development, customer retention to employee retention, so much of your success hinges on your ability to hire great people. Not good... great. It's the only way to continue to be successful in today's competitive marketplace.

Here are five ways entrepreneurs can ensure they surround themselves and their business with the right people.

#1: Look for People Who Share Your Passion

Look for people who can match your spirit and share your passion. In the early days you are going to need people who are willing to do just about anything to make your business grow.

For example, at Porch we used the Lean Startup process (which I highly recommend). Before we raised a single dollar, we had run five different Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) that were designed to inform us of the problem that exists in our space and how to solve it. We ran a concierge service where we worked directly with consumers to solve a problem for them manually; we ran search arbitrage tests to understand the economics of consumer acquisition and inform our engine of growth; and built small products that made us smarter about what to build. Along the way everyone we brought on board was excited and supportive of the pace we took. They had the same passion for the lean process that I did.

#2: Look for People Who Can Compete

One of my leadership role models is Pete Carroll, head coach of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (my home team--GO HAWKS!). Competition is about creating an environment where people are driven to perform to their maximum ability. For many companies, doing this while retaining team camaraderie and spirit is difficult. Over the years Pete has done an excellent job of communicating the purpose of internal competition to make each player better.

At Porch we are transparent about individual results and work to create healthy competition, but we celebrate team members who best help their peers improve. We want to compete to max out each day and to make sure the bar continues to be raised for the company and each individual. Finding people who can thrive within this environment is crucial.

#3: Look for People Who Can Move Fast 

Speed has to be a differentiator for early startups. Make sure you are thoughtful about designing the organization's structure so you will continue to be fast at scale.

#4: Look for People Who Fit Your Culture

I feel incredibly lucky to have the team we've assembled. We have a mix of talent and experiences but most importantly, I can feel the culture taking hold. I feel the teamwork, I see new individuals starting to flourish, I hear open communication, and I sense a stronger energy encompassing what we are trying to accomplish. The team is really working together to build something truly tremendous and I'm grateful to spend my days with them. It's an incredible realization just how fun it can be to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in pursuit of an extreme goal. Saying that this experience is rewarding is an understatement. Pick the right people to make your company great.

#5: Look out for Jerks!

On the Porch office wall, we have a painted sign that says "No Jerks." Hire people you genuinely like working with. Work is no fun when you can't be yourself.  Trust and transparency is key and you will find that everything slows down when you can't be open. It only takes a couple of bad hires to really poison the well. If you bring on people who carry themselves with a high degree of integrity, empathy, and kindness, you will bring on people who fundamentally understand the right way to do business.

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Last updated: Jul 28, 2014

MATT EHRLICHMAN

Matt Ehrlichman is the founder and CEO of Porch. Previously, he was the CEO of Thriva, which he built out of his dorm room at Stanford University.




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