This anecdote is a part of a series from the People Matters June cover: Travails of Team building. The story focuses on learning the first principles of attracting and enabling the core team from entrepreneurs. Read it in two parts Travails of team building: Learning from startups and Travails of team building: Enabling, not retaining.
I gave into hiring in desperation back in October and November of 2015. We wanted to get our new product rolling and urgently needed a product manager for it. There was a serious dearth of options available to us at that time. We had shortlisted a couple of candidates, and I knew back then that the person I finally chose was not the right fit for the organization.
But I ended up hiring him – for the wrong reasons.
Yes, he had the functional know-how of how to be a product manager and knew everything about the job, but he never really cared for the purpose of JobsForHer. This notion was reinforced during one of the meet-ups that we had arranged for women on a career break who wanted to get back to work. He got bored with the discussion happening on the floor. That is when I realized - How could a person figure out solutions to the problems being faced by our customers, if he himself did not care about them?
That was the end of the line for us, and it entirely changed the way I looked at hiring.
What matters now, more than anything else, is whether an individual cares about the purpose or not. The next time I was choosing between two candidates for the role of product manager, I ended up shortlisting one who was skilled, had a good attitude and was a good fit. But while negotiating the package with him, I asked him, “Why do you want to join us?” He replied, “Anybody can tell you that they are joining you for your vision and purpose, but all that matters at the end of the day, is the money that we are taking home.”
I did not repeat an old mistake and that ended there.