Apply the shopping -mall test

There’s one more test to apply to candidates, the Shopping Mall Test.

“Life is too short to work with people you don’t like—especially in a startup.”

This is how it works. Suppose you are at a shopping mall. You see a candidate before he notices you. At that point, you can do one of three things:

Scoot over and say hello.

Figure that if you bump into him, fine. If not, that’s okay too.

Get in your car and go to another shopping center.

No matter what your intuition and a double-check of your intuition tells you, you should only hire people that you’d hustle over to and engage in a conversation. If you find yourself picking other options, don’t make the hire.

Life is too short to work with people you don’t like—especially in a startup.

Define an Initial Review Period

Your recruiting process (or your intuition) is sometimes wrong despite your best efforts, and a new hire does not perform to your expectations. According to our experience, one of the most challenging tasks is to admit this mistake and correct it.

Define an Initial Review Period

However, if there’s one thing that’s harder than firing someone you don’t want, it’s laying off people you do want. If you don’t make a course correction or terminate people who aren’t working out, you increase the probability of laying off people working out if your startup fails.

To make this process easier on both the organization and the employee (because it’s also the right thing for the employee to stop working for the wrong organization), you should establish an initial review period with incremental milestones. The more concrete the performance objectives, the better. For example, dreams for a salesperson might include:

Completion of product training

Completion of sales training

Participation in five sales calls

This period needs to be longer than that of the hiring afterglow but shorter than the time it takes for the predominant feeling to become, Why did we hire this person?

In short, ninety days.

Establish an understanding that after ninety days, there will be a joint review in which both sides discuss what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and how to improve performance. Some issues will be your fault!

Don’t Assume You’re Done

In 2000 Garage recruited a well-known investment banker from a big-name company. It took weeks of wooing, and two rounds of offers and counteroffers as his current employer sweetened his current compensation.

He and his family came to the company BBQ. Life was good. Several weeks later, he started at the firm. He showed up for work for a few days but then called in sick. Late one night, the owners got an e-mail from him saying that he was resigning.

He left Garage to work for a former client of the investment bank. A few months after that, he returned to his original employer. It was learned that one should never assume he’s done.

Don't Assume You're Done

Recruiting doesn’t stop when a candidate accepts your offer or resigns from his current employer, or on his last day at his current employer—not even after he starts at your organization. Recruiting never stops.

Every day is a new contract between startups and their employees.

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