“The cost of hiring someone bad is so much greater than missing out on someone good” is a point many founders make. What makes them say that?
Well, let me take a guess. They hired someone bad, and got something that was good enough to feature at The Daily WTF. At least that’s the anecdote they always tell.
If you’re like me, you’re missing something here. Yes, that’s right, you’re missing the cost of not hiring someone amazing. They have no idea what that is, and yet blithely go on assuming things about relative pricing. And remember: it’s possible to fire people, but damn near impossible to get a second chance at rehiring greatness.
Playing at safe, some-doubt-is-no-doubt policy, is not always a good idea. As a start-up, you are going to have to bet your life on dangerous looking ideas. Wouldn’t you like these ideas to come from people who know what they’re doing?
If you’re wondering whether to make an offer, take your time. Carefully think about the risks and potential benefits. Assume the worst. Assume the best. Plan how to mitigate risks. Consider everything. And then decide what to do. The cost of hiring someone bad is high, especially in the early stage. Amazingly high. Company-killing-high. But remember that a start-up depends on having good people, and not hiring the right person can also kill your company. Start-ups are risky, and that’s that. Mindlessly ignoring that when hiring employees is the HR equivalent of using Java because that’s the safe thing that everyone is doing.