Threadless’ CEO on How to Make Great Hires

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So you quit your day job, struck it out on your own and are chasing your dream as an entrepreneur. But the hard part isn't over yet: How do you make sure you hire the right people, and continue to do so?

This very topic was explored at length in a recent London event, Silicon Valley Comes To Tech City, where Threadless' Thomas Ryan was one of a select few tapped to speak about recruitment. According to Wired's UK outpost, Ryan weighed in with the following: "You need to spend a lot of time hiring and referencing new joiners. Have drinks with them. Often people do reference calls and try to hear what they want to hear rather than look for problems."

Which, when you put aside the whole human side of hiring, sounds incredibly smart and reasonable: be pragmatic, not irresponsibly optimistic about candidates you're vetting. In fact, many on the panel recommended hiring people "who are better than you. ... It's not always about hiring copies of the founders." But at the same time, you should be tolerant of people's weaknesses because, guess what? Everyone has 'em. And, no, "working too hard" or "being too nice" doesn't count.

Nancy Lublin, the CEO of New York's Do Something Inc., had even more unorthodox advice: “Hire Apprentice-style. Ask them to work on a real project. This way, you get to see their work and get work done for free.”

That's maybe even less practical and more risky than you're willing to be as an entrepreneur running what's hopefully a burgeoning new company, but, hey, it's free advice. You can read more at Wired's report on the panel.

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