Learn To Hire Well And You’ll Never Lose

Three Tips For Leaders Who Want To Up Their Recruiting Game

Hunter Walk
4 min readOct 9, 2021


Show me the first 20 employees of a startup and I’ll tell you whether it’s going to be successful or not. In my mind there’s no greater indicator of success than the quality and characteristics of the individuals you’re able to bring on board. Success is a signal of two meaningful truths: you have the talent you need to execute your roadmap and A+ people have decided that you are worth working for. When I encounter founders who know how to hire, or founders who are self-aware enough to know it’s an area they want to get better at, it’s a huge plus in our investment decision.

Photo by Dan-Cristian Pădureț on Unsplash

So here are three tips for leaders who want to up their recruiting game:

  1. Know What Excellent Looks Like

It’s very hard to hire something if you don’t know what it looks like. If you’ve never worked alongside a stellar marketer I don’t expect you’ll know how to identify one, let alone attract them. Even worse you’ll probably fall victim to an ‘all hat, no cattle’ candidate who can talk a good game but has zero substance. This is true of every discipline whether it be product, engineering, sales and so on. You need to know what excellent looks like. So ahead of hiring, spend time with a few excellent people in their domains. Ask them what they look for when they hire and how they structure their interview processes. Calibrate well though, if you’re going to be hiring a SDR but are talking with a SVP Sales, make sure you’re asking her about junior folks.

2. Ask Candidates Who Reject You To Name Names

Ok I know this one sounds weird but it works. If you’ve built a rapport with someone but they turn you down because it’s not the right time for them to interview, or they are prioritizing something other than what your company can offer, insist they provide a name of someone else you should talk with about the role. I do this frequently and it has paid off multiple times. You get a warm intro to a candidate who is flattered to be told they are awesome. And it is a great way to expand beyond your own network.

This “strategy” started organically for me during my YouTube years. I was trying to recruit a product manager from Google to transfer…



Hunter Walk

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