Help Wanted: What to Look for in a New Employee.

Like many media and technology companies, we are planning to staff up as we prepare for our next stage of growth. Many of the qualities we’re looking for from prospective employees could be useful to your company as well.

True believers. You have to be ambitious to build an enterprise technology company in a place like New York City. Silicon Valley has decades of experience building big software companies like Oracle, PeopleSoft and Workday. And yet here we are, making it happen. Our secret is that we are all true believers — and we need more of them.

Competitive. Why did the people that we have hired so far work out so well? It wasn’t because they had a deep background in the category — that would have been very difficult to find in New York. What we all had in common was the will to succeed.

Agency backgrounds. Agency people are known for working hard and doing whatever it takes to make a client happy. These kinds of people have proven to be excellent hires.

Millennial-minded. It makes sense to hire staffers from your target market.For us, Millennials (people born after 1980) comprise the majority of the workforce in the companies we sell to. In fact, by 2020, Millennials will be 50% of the total workforce everywhere.

Technical. Fun for us is solving a really difficult database problem or building a marketing stack that helps us capture leads more efficiently. Even our salespeople have technical interests outside of work. So for us, any new hire should have a passion for technology.

Tested. Just because someone is technical doesn’t mean they’re necessarily a good fit, though. Every engineer needs to pass a test to work for us — no exceptions. We’ve turned down people who work at companies like Google because they didn’t measure up.

Team-based. Many startups, like us, are a flat, distributed team without a complex reporting structure. People who need fancy titles, a lot of direct reports or a big corner office will not fit in here.

Long-term. Building a great company can take years and there will be many ups and downs along the way. So it’s important to attract people that are in this for the long haul.
Every person we hire is like adding an essential piece of hardware to our organization. Having a clear idea of what we want helps to ensure that we make the right investment.

By Matt Straz
Matt Straz was a senior partner at MEC from 2002-2008. He is currently the CEO of Namely.
Courtesy of MediaPost

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