Authors and entrepreneurs Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, writing in their book Getting Real
, recommend the following two tactics when you’re recruiting for your small, early-stage company.
1. Hire well-rounded generalists who learn quickly
As Fried and Heinemeier Hansson point out, small teams need people who can wear different hats – from programmers who understand design, to designers who can write.
For example, they argue that they would never hire for a role as narrow as an Information Architect
, because in a fast-moving and dynamic environment you want someone who can learn and adapt and go with the flow, “as opposed to a stick in the mud who can only do one thing.”
Everyone needs to be able to communicate with customers, have an organized mind, and “architect information (whatever that may mean).”
2. Hire good writers
If you’re trying to decide between a few people for a given position, Fried and Heinemeier Hansson suggest that you should always hire the person who’s a better writer.
It doesn’t matter if they’re a programmer, designer, marketer, or salesperson – that’s because clear and structured writing reflects clear and structured thinking.
As they put it, good writers know how to communicate, they can make things easy to understand and, crucially, “They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes.”