Don’t hire for suitability

Dramatic title, but its something I see often, founders frustrated that they hired some talented young grad, and are now having to baby sit this grad. 

The startup industry over-values suitability, we are often conditioned to over-value potential, after all, that what most early VCs are doing, betting on the potential of a founder.

But I think, whilst there’s value to looking at the potential and cultural fit of a candidate. Aside from the most junior roles thats not enough.

Often what is said is personality and cultural fit can’t be training, but skills can always be learned, and thats true, but do YOU as a leader/ founder have time to teach?  And if you don’t teach, who is going to teach? What happens if the student has no one to learn from?

You can see, its not enough to just hire for cultural fit, suitability is important, but capability more so, especially as you get to increasingly senior roles. 

I’d be scared of a founder who was hiring candidates who whilst culturally suitable, had no evidence or being able to achieve whats expected of them (capability) – after all, we’re working on business that need to hit the ground running, not schools where people can go to learn.

Suitability AND Capability are important, but capability is what determines the position you get. 

If I’m going to pay top dollar – I’m picking you (over other similar pedigree candidates) because of your suitability (character); but I’m paying you for your skills and capabilities.

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