Roadblocks to Hiring - Assumption One

Our experience has taught us that one of the most common roadblocks Founders face when building their ELT are the assumptions they make relevant to the search and the hire. 

Yesterday, we introduced the three most common assumptions that lead to roadblocks when hiring a leadership team. Today we jump into assumption number one:


Every Founder who has recently raised money is enthusiastic and optimistic about the road ahead, including who they will be able to hire as their ELT. Their enthusiasm is often infectious as, from their point of view, who wouldn’t want to be part of their company, and game-changing idea/product/service?

The Reality

The business is deeply personal for an early-stage Founder, and often the Founder's identity is wrapped up in the business. However, the reality is that enthusiasm, optimism, and zest to hire are not enough to compel top talent to seriously consider joining a startup.

In most cases, when an ELT-level candidate meets one Founder, they are also in discussions with other Founders who are equally enthusiastic, optimistic, and filled with zest about their company.

In markets like Canada, which is largely a startup community (and even more true for smaller regional markets), the number of times an ELT-level candidate gets approached to be part of the "next unicorn startup" can feel never-ending.

Overcoming the Assumption

Our advice to Founders, even in this current "employer's market" state, is to get in the ring, ready to fight for the talent. This means refraining from making any assumptions that people will want to join or assuming it will be easy to find, attract and hire these senior-level leaders.

Work hard in each stage of the recruitment process and be prepared to:

  • Address questions to close the gaps or concerns
  • Sell what is exciting about the problem being solved for and the strategy that is likely to achieve those outcomes
  • Be transparent when it comes to gaps that exist and why/how the hire of an ELT candidate will move the needle forward 

Be prepared to really fight for candidates and be in a position of readiness to find, attract and hire a new member for their ELT.

Stay tuned for next week when we delve into assumption number two: "We need to hire a brand name candidate."

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