Saturday, July 26, 2014

5 Signs A Candidate Just Isn't That Into You

When hiring a candidate, there are some clear signs when they aren't really interested in your company (or in leaving their current job).  If this is the case, I would suggest dropping them and focusing on potential hires more likely to join.  As a founder, you only have so much time and should not be wasting it on people who are not engaged.

Signs a candidate just isn't that into your startup:

1. Won't talk to you during the work day.
If they are unwilling to make time for even a 15 minute phone call during the week day, they are not serious about switching roles or considering something new.  Don't waste your time on candidates who give you very specialized windows to talk (e.g. "I can only talk to you between 9pm to 9:15pm on Sunday night in 3 weeks").

2. Keeps stalling.
You make them an offer, and suddenly they can't make the decision to join or not.  Weeks pass.  There is always "one more thing" they need to figure out or look into.  Often they are just not that excited to join you and are interviewing elsewhere.  They are using you as a backup option or for leverage with other companies  You should give them a deadline to decide and then move on.

3. Talks about "just wanting to ship this one thing in 4 months, so lets connect again in a quarter".
It is code for "I am misleading myself and you on whether I really want to do something new.  I am emotionally committed to my current gig.  Every few months I will find a new reason to stick around for a few more months while deluding myself on my interest in actually leaving".  Initially you should keep pinging them via email or phone every few months just in case, but if this happens 2 or 3 times in a row, it is clear they are deluding either you or themselves.  If you are talking to a Googler, this means they are unlikely to leave the company for the next 5 or 6 years.

4. Is starting a company themselves.
I accidentally tried to recruit one of the co-founders of GitHub to my last startup (I misread his LinkedIn and thought he was just a poweruser - woops). Obviously, he didn't join (very smart choice).

5. Keeps agreeing to meet, but never want to actually interview.
The candidate is happy to come by your offices to meet the team, head out to lunch, hang out with folks, but never actually formally interview.  Having them come in for endless meet and greats just wastes your teams time.  Unless they are willing to go under the gun and get asked hard technical questions, they just aren't that into your startup.

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