I once worked with a startup that wanted to hire a new VP of engineering. When I asked the CEO what he was looking for in a candidate, he said, “Someone who can play the drums.” (This CEO happened to be learning the drums at the time.) He was dead serious.
This may sound like a crazy, off-the-wall request, but it highlights a surprisingly common problem in recruiting. I work with startups all the time who say they need someone with the skills and experience to help them scale their company and take it to the next level, business-wise. But when it actually comes time to interview candidates, they’re completely – and myopically – focused on cultural issues instead.