When you’re looking to draw talent into your company, one thing to consider is whether the people you hire can attract others from their network. Especially when you’re hiring managers or executives, an inability to bring in known quantities is a red flag for you to think about, says venture capitalist Hunter Walk.
Investing in an incoming executive with personal agency can have significant returns, especially when compared to someone with great references but no former teammates willing to work with them. The big question is how you can recognize the difference. The standard interview isn’t as useful when sussing out the type of person who can help you bulk up your team. So you need to be upfront in finding out how many of a potential hire’s former co-workers may be ready to follow them, as well as how the candidate will be locating and recruiting other staff.
Once hired, your new manager should be assertive and persistent in pursuing former colleagues, and be able to convince them that your company is the one they should be working for. This particular skill set is one of the great strengths of Silicon Valley startups. A well-known example is the trajectory of the small group of developer colleagues who went from PayPal to YouTube to Dropbox – creating success at each stop.
Most recently, wireless beacon startup Estimote hired former GroupMe business development head Steve Cheney as its SVP of business operations. The choice has already paid off. Cheney tweeted his hiring of former colleague Tanuj Parikh as the company’s new director of business development, which may be an indication that more contacts from his address book will be coming soon. With a hire like Cheney, a company doesn’t just get one person, it gets an established, invigorated team.