In This Market, It’s a Great Time for a Mutual “Try Before You Buy”

Why Some Smart Startups Are Putting (Paid) Projects Ahead of Employment Offers

Hunter Walk

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80–90% of startups shouldn’t follow the advice I’m about to give. Instead these companies are better off just investing resources in improving their hiring via candidate flow/sourcing, interview process, offer communication/negotiation and closing experience. Being at least A- in those areas will put you way ahead of most of your competition.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

But for the rest of you I’m going to suggest it’s a great time to put ‘try before you buy’ experiments into place to help potential candidates learn about you, and you about them, not through an interview slate but through actual work together. Yes, I’m talking about short-term paid projects ranging from a few days to a few weeks. Especially at early stage startups I’m convinced that while this is higher risk, it also sharpens the construction of the founding team, especially when you’re hiring people you haven’t worked with before.

Looking back I wrote something in 2012 about generally getting beyond the interview. In similarly titled, Try Before You Buy: Why Smart People & Smart Companies Are Ditching the Interview:

Once is a coincidence, twice is a trend? Increasingly I’m hearing…

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Hunter Walk

You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .