Alex MacCaw:

Imagine going on a first date, and immediately proposing. That’s hiring in a nutshell. Companies have to make long-term and far reaching decisions about candidates based on very little data and time. Of course, the same is true in the opposite direction too.

Hiring at many companies is comparable to “feature checklists” in technology. You read a piece of paper to see if they match your checklist, you spend an hour with them, and then make a decision to hire someone someone you could potentially work with for years and depend on.

Alex proposes a solution of essentially work to hire, but the best people aren’t interested in jumping ship into a work to hire situation, heck, they’re probably not even looking for a job. The best companies I’ve seen are small ones who can hire based on employee referrals. Talent attracts talent.

If you start with the right group of people, they will know and want to work with other good, smart people.

It’s not impossible, I’ve seen 100+ employee companies do 90% of their hiring through employee referrals, but you have to be willing to compromise in other areas like growth. Your company may not grow as fast, but you’ll make sure the right people are on the bus.