How to Hire Your First Engineer

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Lots of the same content as his startup school talk.

Here’s a plan you could follow:

  1. Make a list of the best engineers you know, whether you think they’re available or not. Go through your Facebook and LinkedIn to jog your memory.

  2. Invite them to lunch or dinner with them to talk about your startup.

  3. Make the ask – would you consider joining us?.

  4. Whatever they answer, ask a follow up question – if you did join us, which engineers would you most want to hire?.

  5. Ask for an introduction to those people.

  6. Repeat 2 – 5 with each of the introductions.

  7. Repeat 1 – 6 ad infinitum, I know public company founders who still do this. Expect to be spending at least a third of your time on this alone.

To make any other strategy work you need to treat hiring like you did fundraising and start by refining your message and pitch. Candidates think differently to investors and you’ll need to tweak the message that worked for your fundraise e.g. candidates will think less about your market size and more about your most interesting product challenges.

Once you understand what resonates most about your company with engineers you can switch gears to working through channels to get that message out to potential candidates. Then be prepared for a lot of struggle and rejection until you find the right person. Good luck!