Hiring The Right Talent

Hiring the right employees to help you realize your vision is as important as the vision itself. Sometimes, adding the human component to your business can be the trickiest part of launching any new venture -- big or small.

Lex Sisney is a CEO coach and creator of Organizational Physics and the author of How to Think About Hiring. Sisney suggests coming up with a simple, effective paradigm for hiring not just the most skilled employees, but also the most adaptable and conducive to your specific cultural work environment. Skills are important but can generally be learned. Personality and attitude, on the other hand, are a different story. But how do you differentiate between a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses?


  1. Team leaders: have the right skills for the job, they’re the right cultural match, have the right style for the role and will work for the right cost point.
  2. Team players: have a lower skill level and perhaps the wrong style match for your culture, but they totally buy into your cultural vision and values. This is significant.
  3. Specialists: have a high technical skill and the right style but, they don’t share your cultural traits or values. In other words, they can be effectively used if used sparingly.
  4. Waivers: don’t have the necessary skill set, don’t buy into your cultural vision and/or they just cost too much. Avoid these people at all costs!

When you interview applicants, it’s useful to try and break them down into one of the above categories to help make a decision.

One major management leader in particular who endorses Lex Sisney’s hiring principals is former New England Patriots General Counsel / Player Personnel Jack Mula:

“(Sisney’s hiring philosophy) speaks to what made the New England Patriots such a winning organization. It is about defining the very foundation for how any elite organization should think about hiring and then integrate leading-edge management theory and real-world experience, making those principles easy to apply and scale.”

Even for a small Internet start-up, the sports analogy is an effective one. Every player needs to bring their A-game onto the field, but all the individual talent in the world is literally worthless if they can’t work together as a team. The key hiring philosophy that Sisney, Branson and Mula share boils down to the intangible qualities that define employees outside of their resume: attitude, personality and an open mind to connect with the human aspect of your business and vision.