This weeks tips:
Authenticity. Prospective employees are drawn to businesses where the leader is deeply motivated by solving a problem, often in a clever and unique way. While that’s often the case at a startup, it’s critical to find ways to convey this to the folks you are recruiting while they are in the process with you.
Generosity. Don’t be afraid to award someone a big piece of the company to reflect the risk they are taking in joining at such an early stage. Be generous and then set high expectations. And remember that vesting is your friend. These days a one-year cliff and four-year vesting schedule seem pretty standard in employment contracts. Meaning, you can work with someone for almost a full year before they vest a single share; they vest that first quarter of their options grant only after completing 12 months at the company. Now I don’t think you should ever plan to fire in month 11 to avoid giving out equity, but knowing that you have the option to terminate employment if the first 3-6-9 months do not work out well gives you some more flexibility to give out an enticing options package.
Communication. First, and most importantly is communication. Without proper communication and clarity around what you expect from a team member you cannot expect their performance to align with your perceived expectation(s). Secondly, expectations are a two-way street. You cannot ask for a high level of performance from a team member without outlining what you are contributing to the mix. Generally, a strong level of support will demonstrate to your team that you are in fact committed to assist them in meeting expectations and key milestones.