Why only hire the best?


http://paulgraham.com/startupmistakes.html  (N. 6)


Every piece of startup advice I’ve read has said the same thing: don’t compromise on hiring. Only hire the best of the best. Hire people who are smart, get stuff done and are a good cultural fit. If you’re unsure about someone, pass. Etc… The more time I spend in the working world, the more I think this is true. Most of the articles I’ve seen fail to explain why hiring sub-par people is so bad. After all, they do the job and that’s enough, right? Here’s why:

  • Your employees recruit your future employees. Mediocre employees multiply over time.
  • Your employees determine your culture. Mediocre people make your culture worse. This is a global negative modifier to everyone in your firm.
  • Your employees, eventually and after enough promotions, determine your strategy. Mediocre people lead to bad strategy. Bad strategy sinks your business
  • People like to work with people like them. Have lots of mediocre employees and you’ll drive away smart people. Even worse, they’ll attract other mediocre people (see point 1)
  • Your employees decide who to promote. Bad people promote bad people.


context warning: this advice may well be highly specific to a certain economic niche/industry/knowledge workers. The further your business is from a high tech, knowledge intense startup, the less this advice, and my experience in general, is reliable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s