• Randy

Hiring Your Friends



In the startup world it's typical for entrepreneurs to search their inner network for sales talent. Most of us know someone who is out of work/looking for something new and sales is (of course) one of those catch-all job categories the inexperienced can usually just "try out".

A word of caution, plus some pointers if you go this route.


Speaking frankly, whenever a business owner tells me that they hired sales people through their network of acquaintances, it's never been followed by the words "and they are working out great". In fact, as I sit here, I can think of only one success story and the rep ending up leaving for another job anyway. I suppose the appeal to searching your very limited inner circle is the cost savings compared to advertising the job.


But if you choose to recruit your buddies you should at least have a strategy. Other than the skills required for the job there are two things you should come to a deep understanding about, and that is motivation, and commitment.


Start by telling your fiend what your end game is for the company and what your personal motivations are. Then take time to uncover how and whether working for you would help them achieve their ends. Discuss alternative options as well.


Next if the road map of the company matches their goals talk about their specific commitment level, how much time they can devote, what exact tasks and output you need from them. And talk contingency plans with them in case commitments are not met.


Finally, in the interest of your company's success and the longevity of your relationship both parties need to approach it like an experiment with with agreed upon time-frame and agreed upon results. This way once the experiment has run its course, it was either successful, or not. Therefore you can move on quickly to find a better fit, and the friend can likewise save face and move on to something more productive.

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