Josh Melick is a multi-talented individual who has worked as an engineer, a project manager, and sales. Josh was the former CEO of Broadly.com, a mobile small company CRM and messaging platform. We spoke to him about what new startups need to know about finding and attracting the right talent.
What are some of the most critical strategies people can use to find the talent they need for their new venture?
“I think the number one rule is ‘the more you look, the more you’ll find.’ I’m not convinced it’s necessarily about volume, but definitely quality. A lot of times, people aren’t looking nearly as much as they can. The second thing is that it’s easier to be the right person you’re looking for than you think, especially if you are willing to try different angles or take on a slightly customized role. I started Broadly with two guys I had never worked with before but who had skills in areas where we were knowledge deficient…and it worked out great.
Finally, remember that you’re in a super-competitive market for talent and that if you don’t move quickly, it’s going to be too late.”
How can new founders find the right people?
“First is definitely LinkedIn. It’s not perfect, and you have to know how to use it, but it’s the only tool I’ve found that has enough volume and connections to be practical. The second is by being very open about what you’re doing, who you are, your experience level, your willingness to learn/grow/move quickly on things. Finally, you have to look at helping people find their passion or purpose, not just a paycheck.
I think the most important thing for people in new companies is to recognize that they’re going to just sort of screw up and know how to handle it. You’ll hire too early, or maybe not at all…but you have to be willing to deal with those things and move on quickly.”
What kinds of skills should founders look for in new employees?
“Not everyone can do everything, but they should be looking for as many of the following as possible: empathy (which is underrated as a skill), creativity/think-outside-the-box mentality, humility and ability to learn, business sense or acumen, strong communicator with a high emotional IQ, money-motivated but not money-driven, able to think big picture/strategy, ability to work in a team.”
When founders are trying to hire someone quickly, how can they tell if what they might lack in experience is being made up for by the potential employee’s talent?
“You won’t know for sure, but you have to be willing to evaluate that situation quickly. There are a few things you can do to help with the evaluation, but again it requires talking to people and uncovering what they know…it’s not about whether they’ve done something before.”
Can you talk about your favorite startup hires? Why were these employees so successful for your company?
“We have a very talented young lady on our team who came from a customer service background and struggled when she first joined the company. It took her about six months for her to get settled in. Still, it has been great since then….she’s gone from being responsible for one channel of the business model to multiple channels, including a lucrative white-labeled offering. She loves what she does, but more importantly, knows that the company supports her growth and that she has a large impact on the direction of the business.”