(Illustration by Augustė Misiūnaitė)

In contemporary society, fastly growing startups require tremendous human power. Well, the beginning is simple: you meet some like-minded individuals. Later you build a working business model and craft some valuable products or services. You want to go in the same direction, see the same vision. But when you start getting some revenue and investments occur, you need to scale your venture. Then you face the problem: the pain of hiring talent who is like-minded and who will fit your business?

Perfect resume ≠ perfect candidate when hiring talent

Here is a hypothetical situation: you open a new position at your startup. Later applications start to flow and you identify two individuals that fit the role. Person X: prestigious university, flawless resume, and recommendations from the academic institution that he has graduated from. Person Y: a college dropout, a fair amount of job-hopping, with some odd jobs in his employment history.

Well, you probably need to take a deeper look at Y

HR specialists describe X is “The Silver Spoon”, the one who clearly have advantages for succeeding. Y is “The Scrapper”, who fights tremendously to his goals. And yes, the prestigious background does not mean a perfect candidate. Of course, there is nothing wrong with people, who have it easy in the world. But life seems a little bit fairer to them because there are more opportunities to land wanted, prestigious jobs after graduating from a decent university. Sadly, “The Scrapper” faces more difficulties in life. The hardships make them stronger, builds character and for the scrapper, no job seems small. A silver spoon might find certain jobs beneath him, not because he is smarter, but because that would not be worth his talent, while the scrapper sees that job as another challenge. The scrapper sees him not only as a passion but also as a survival. Well, the silver spoon probably has financial freedom and can work only for his pleasure. The scrapper will love his job because it is a kind of prize which he has won while having a journey through all struggles and making sacrifices. Simply, they are the best when facing some challenges.

Values matter

Every HR talks about corporate values. In most cases, there is a list of soft skills which they require while hiring talent. And yes, sometimes that list sounds cheesy, but the truth is that this thing matters. Those lists are not just good sounding cliches but the ‘real’ requirements from the hiring talent. While hiring the talent you are not only looking for a skillset or a prestigious alma mater. You are also looking for a human being would feel ‘in the zone’ at your company. And the person with a wider skill set does not equal the perfect hire. While hiring the talent you need to analyze if the person has the same goals. And even if a person Y has fewer skills than person X, but he has the same vision as the whole organization, there is the possibility that he would perform better in the long term and would bring more value to the team.

The strategy of hiring talent

So, now it is clear that a perfect resume does not guarantee the perfect employee and that values matter. But it sounds kind of abstract. So what are the best way to determine if your candidates have the behavioral traits and skills needed for the role? Here are three ideas to get you started.

1. Give them a problem to solve

While hiring the talent you are looking for a person that performs. And in my opinion, there is no other way to see if a person is a good problem solver, then giving him an actual problem to solve. Here I am not talking about a job-related task. In this case, it could be a hypothetical situation about office culture or some incident inside the staff and by the candidate’s solution, you could determine if the person has the right cultural fit.

2. Give them an actual project to make

This step would help you to determine if the person’s skills are eligible. If you are looking for a designer just give a task to design something. If you looking for a salesperson- give a task to craft a sales strategy. Yes, this step sounds obvious, but it could not only show the ‘hard skills’, but also ‘soft skills’ like creativity, communication, etc.

3. While hiring talent, take them out of the “interview zone”

An easy way to do this is to take your candidate out for lunch with the team to see how they interact. Think about which team members you invite. The dynamics will be different if all the attendees at the lunch are senior to the candidate. The candidate may take pains to be on their best behavior in this situation, and you won’t get an accurate reflection of who you’ll be working with day-to-day. Determine the behaviors you want to observe and pay attention accordingly. Does the candidate listen when people speak? How do they interact with the waiting staff? Are they interested in learning about others or just talking about themselves? Don’t shy away from more creative ideas. For example, invite final candidates to a cooking class. Choose an activity that aligns with your company culture to see how your candidate will fit in.


Yes, hiring talent is hard, sometimes even painful process. You do not want to waste time and hire a person who would not fit into your company. But in conclusion, just try to think outside the box, do not look just for a nice resume and improvise a bit in a hiring process. And we promise you will not ever again feel the pain while hiring talent.

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