I have a lot of respect for HR departments. Because their job sucks. You get an incredible amount of applications for a few positions and you have to go through an insane amount of letters on a page to decide who is best for your company. I have a newfound respect for anyone in charge of making hiring decisions.
I have read a lot of articles and books stating that one of a founders most important job is making great hiring decisions. I think I have been very fortunate in that regard (note the last article about my team). The Sound Gaarden team is great but we need more firepower. So this week I attended the New York University (Abu Dhabi campus) startup career fair to find interns for the summer and fall.
I remember only a year ago I was on the other side of the table trying to get employers to like me, to love me and prove that I was the right person for to fix all their problems. It was never a fun experience when I was job hunting so I made sure, as an employer (strange saying that), to make this a lot more engaging and rewarding for the interested interns.
I had my little booth set up with my intern sign up sheet, my laptop open up to show the site and my own sparkling personality. This is one of those times where being a loud individual really paid off. Interns were coming through in groups and one by one I was talking to them, explaining the job opening(s), and learning about them. Actually learning about them. It was great, everybody really loved what I had to say about the company and really wanted me to get back in touch with them. I mean really, really wanted to me get back in touch with them.
This one student, an architect, all dressed up in a suit approached my booth and asked me the usual questions and showed me his portfolio, his past experiences and, as time went on, more about his personal life. His father had recently passed away but he really wanted to pursue a career in music. He was on course for an architecture fellowship but that would not pay him for another year and he was hoping to make some cash during an internship over the summer. His father was a great singer (according to him) and this would really make him proud while helping his mom financially.
From first impression to last, I knew that he was not a good fit for us. He was not extroverted enough, not did he have experience with musicians or venues. He did not understand programming or have any kind of technical skills and he was not the most confident in his approach. But I felt for him. He was motivated and his passion was coming from a good place. I somehow felt responsible for him. I knew I was not going to give him the position at our company but I wanted to help him. I could not explain why.
This weekend I am going to send out an email to all the potential interns that wanted to work with us and have an opportunity at The Sound Gaarden and I already know which intern I would like to bring onboard. It was not him. If and when he does reply, I think I will meet him for coffee and just talk to him and see how I can help him in some way.
It was a strange feeling having someone pour their heart out to me and ask me to help them get their life together. It was a position I did not think I would be in at this stage but it was eye opening in a huge way. I always felt responsibility to myself and my company but never so much responsibility to others involved with The Sound Gaarden. I realized that it isn’t just about looking out for the best of the company but also the best of everyone in the team, and everyone connected to us.
I want to build a community for the artists, venues and fans and a family for everyone who is a part of the team. I need to consciously assure we work and exude positivity, realism, comfort, excitement, growth and stability.