Top Ten Tips on Hiring: Gems of Wisdom From The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series

As the fabulous The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series draws near its close, we'll be bringing you some of our favourite gems of wisdom from the series, focusing on certain key subjects. Today's hot topic is: Hiring.

"It’s key to have the best players on your team. Smart people can fix almost any problem whereas in the battle between an idea and mediocre people, you can expect that mediocrity will win.  

"I recently heard Reed Hoffman, CEO of NetFlix, speak about the importance of speaking honestly about what you expect from employees.  His point was that great companies are like championship sports teams where the culture is based on recruiting the right people and judging them based on execution.  I think that is a pretty sound strategy".  

Heidi Messer, Co-Founder, Collective[i]

"I looked for people who were well above average in intelligence and creativity who were eager and open to learning new things, had an affinity for technology, and were unwilling to fail".

Anneke Seley, Founder, Phone Works

"We hire for attitude.  We are a very no nonsense environment so you have to be able to take criticism and not take things personally. We look for people who take ownership of their work and change strategy to get results.

"Our company mantra is 'ask for forgiveness rather than permission" which gives people a lot of leeway to take chances". 

Michelle Madhok, Founder & CEO SheFinds Media

"Hiring is one of the most important jobs of an executive team at any company. When hiring, focus on attitude and aptitude.

"At a startup, one’s job description changes by the minute so it’s best to get people who are hard working and intelligent. They will figure out any task at hand".

Divya Gugnani, CEO, Send the Trend


"Smart and nice (humble) people. Everything else is a drag and unpleasant for everyone involved. And yes, nice is a must.

"I like to hire people who were recommended by good people. Good people usually know good people. Also, a friend recommended that I involve the team in choosing their new colleagues, which I do now. After all, they have to work with the person. And if the person doesn't turn out as expected, the team feels responsible to make it work since they choose that person. It helps team work!"

Nora Abousteit: Co-Founder BurdaStyle & Founder Kollabora

"I looked for teammates that are positive and willing to make a change; have high communication skills; and are more talented/skilled than myself in one or more ways".  

Reina Otsuka, Founder & President, Ecotwaza

"Passion before experience. We have had the unique opportunity to find incredibly smart, driven employees, who we can grow internally. It takes a little extra mentoring and molding, but in turn we reap the benefits their creativity and enthusiasm".

Carley Roney, Editor in Chief TheKnot.com & Co-founder XO Group Inc

"Hiring is one of the most important and the most difficult things to do. I have found that culture and attitude are equally important to skill and experience in the selection process. Strong leaders with a passion for people and learning are the best fit for frog".

Kate Swann, COO, frog


"I often think that I could not have had a better mentor than my father, an entrepreneur himself.  When I opened my first business, a restaurant, in my early 20s, I got so busy that I ended up hiring my whole staff in one afternoon...which was a huge mistake. My father told me to shut down the business for a week to get all new staff.  I was reluctant, but he was right.

"It's better to slow down and find the very best people than to rush into things, because the business will suffer as a result.  I still keep this lesson in mind today".

Virginia Poly, President, Poly Placements

"A business coach, who I got to know because he became a student at the Sydney Writers’ Centre, really helped me to think big. This was about two years after I started the business. Not only did he help me transform my mindset about the business, he also helped me create a system and framework for recruiting staff.

"He taught me that no matter how difficult it may seem to fill a role on our team, that person would exist. He taught me how to find them and how to set them up to succeed. It’s a great system - we have very low turnover and a great team".

Valerie Khoo, Managing Director, Sydney Writers’ Centre

The Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) celebrates the wonderful accomplishments of women in business, whilst looking forward at how we can progress and learn from each other. Natural networkers and relationship builders, women have innate flair for entrepreneurship. With DWEN, Dell is helping women in business to expand their networks while offering technology capabilities designed to help them innovate and grow their businesses.

The NextWomen is in partnership with DWEN to bring you a series of 40 interviews with the world's most influential female founders, investors and decision makers: The NextWomen DWEN Interview Series.

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