Talent is one of the most important, and most difficult, aspects of a startup. The right person does make a huge difference. Just read the post last month from Joe Kraus, of Excite.com fame, titled If You Don’t Think You Need Greatness, You Haven’t Seen It where he talks about how people that haven’t worked with an amazing person with a particular skillset then view that position as one of lower importance. I’ve seen greatness first-hand and it’s helped me appreciate things I didn’t appreciate before.
Most of the time top talent isn’t actively looking for a position since they are in such high demand and their skills are well understood. One thing many talented people like to do is to meet with other talented people and share stories and experiences: enter the informational interview. An informational interview isn’t a full-on job interview but rather getting to know someone with the goal of understanding their background, skillset, and where they are in their career and personal goals. Think of an informational interview as regular getting to know someone new but with an eye towards possibly wanting to recruit them in the future.
Entrepreneurs need to do informational interviews on a regular basis.
Building a strong network on professional colleagues as well as a pipeline of talent is invaluable for entrepreneurs. Informational interviews should be a regular part of an entrepreneur’s life.
What else? What are some other thoughts on informational interviews in startups?