Considerations When Looking For Early Team Members To Join Your Startup

When building a startup team, it's crucial to prioritize individuals with diverse skill sets and that align with core values.

A.T. Gimbel
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September 26, 2023

I recently wrote a blog on considerations if you want to join a startup. One of the comments (thanks David Karabinos) raised a great point that who you let join your startup is also important given hiring mistakes. Here are a few thoughts on who should join your startup.

Diverse skill sets and styles

Some of the best co-founder combinations I know have opposite yet complementary skill sets. One is the visionary, one is the executor. One is the relationship/team builder, one is the process driver. This allows you to play from your strengths and trust your co-founder to play from their strengths. Diversity of thinking, background, and function also breeds a great environment to challenge thinking and make the best decisions to move forward.

Similar core values

One area where you want strong alignment is in core values. Things like positive, self-starting, accountable, etc. This allows you to set a consistent culture where the entire team represents your core values, yet brings different skills and perspectives to the table. Hiring someone that does not align with your core values (no matter how good they are) usually leads to problems down the road.

Great talent 

I am a big believer in finding and bringing on great talent when they become available. Someone who matches your core values, comes from strong referrals, and has a history of success are not always available. When you get the chance, find a way to hire them or get them involved until you can. You can train people on skills, but you can’t train them as much on values and abilities

So most importantly, make sure the people you hire match your core values, yet bring diversity to the team in terms of thinking, background, ability, and skill.

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