Our talent partner, Pete Clarke, talked to Rob Stevenson at Hired for his podcast, “Talk Talent to Me.” You can listen to the episode in full here where they discuss best hiring practices for startup founders and CEOs. We’ve also included some highlights gleaned from his conversation, “Investing in Talent,” below.

Invest early in great talent [07:30]

  • One of the most common questions that Pete gets when talking with Accel portfolio companies is: “When should I hire my first recruiter?” And his answer is almost always “Now”— even if it’s a team of 10 going to 15 or 20.  
  • Pete expands on why he believes that “the best thing a CEO can do is hire and surround themselves with really good people to help them run their company,” and why you should also view “people as the best investment [that you can make.]”

Why building a people roadmap is just as critical as building a product roadmap [8:58]

  • Pete reflects on how hard it is to hire good talent, but also how easy it can be to put off recruiting until you have that “burning fire” need—especially as a founder or CEO who has a lot on their plate.
  • To help combat the last-minute scramble to fill critical roles, he often counsels CEOs that “you really should think no differently about building your company from a people perspective as you do in terms of building your product.”
  • He continues: “Building the company from a people perspective is incredibly hard. We can make it a whole lot harder on ourselves [by putting it off] but then there are a lot of things you can do to actually make sure you can succeed at it.” Creating a roadmap is one such way where you can be more strategic and thoughtful about your needs and hiring plan.

You’ve seen it on almost every job listing, but what does the term “strategic partner” actually mean and why you should absolutely be hiring for it [15:45]

  • Lastly, Pete chats about some of the more generic terms that can be included or emphasized in job listings.
  • While the majority of those are often archaic and unnecessary, one that resonates with him through personal experience is the idea of hiring a “strategic partner.”
  • Pete talks about what this description should actually mean—especially as it relates to hiring senior executives—and the types of questions that recruiters, hiring managers or CEOs should ask to truly uncover who that strategic partner to their organization might be.