An open letter to founders

    The first senior hires you make will define your culture. The cost of fixing a bad hire is much higher in your early years than it is in your later ones. It can actually be terminal.

    When hiring your first senior colleagues, be exceptionally selective and please, make sure you know what you’re doing. We’ve been in your position, we made a few bad hires in our formative years, and the cost to fix the issues was incalculable.

    If you haven’t interviewed 50 people and haven’t read books on how to interview and hire, you’re either going to make a bad hire or (with luck) a not-bad hire.

    Please don’t gamble on your start-up when you don’t need to. Don’t put all that blood, sweat and tears into getting everything off the ground, only to hire a toxic person who’ll crush your culture (almost permanently).

    I’m not asking you to let Berg run your process for you (we’d love to but that’s not the point).

    If you want to run the process yourself (and many people do), take it seriously. We recommend reading the following:

    • Who’ by Geoff Smart. It will teach you how to interview in a way that surfaces A players
    • Principles’ by Ray Dalio: It will teach you how to not settle for average.
    • Good to Great’ by Jim Collins: You learn about leaders having the paradoxical combination of personal humility (humble) and indomitable will (Hungry)
    • The Ideal team player’ by Patrick Lencioni: it will teach you about the three core values of Humble, Hungry and Emotionally Smart and help you interview to discover these traits.

    If you haven’t read these four books, your interview process isn’t as good as it could be. $60 on these four books is worth it.

    If you want to run the process yourself (but want advice from people who’ve been in your shoes), call us (We’ve built two organisations, hired over 500 people, and scaled up various functions from operations to tech to finance.). Our goal is to help companies go from good to great and fees have nothing to do with that mission. We can’t promise that we’ll always be available to chat but we’ll try our best.

    If you want help with your hiring process but money’s tight:

    1. We always have at least one pro-bono search running at any time. To qualify you must be a recently funded company (min £100k, max £500k) with initial product market fit.

    2. We’re expensive, but not nearly as much as you think. Our business model is built to bring the rigours of executive search down to a more affordable level. Think about the cost of a bad hire and think about how much more impactful you’ll be for your business if you can delegate important work to an A-player early.