Traits to Look for in Employee #1

Today was an exciting day for ProRata (an Atlanta software startup focused on simplifying revenue recognition in QuickBooks) because employee #1 showed up this morning on his first day at ProRata bright-eyed and excited about the opportunity that lies ahead. The first employee is one of the most unique hires for any startup, and the combination of traits needed requires a multi-talented candidate that can adapt to any role quickly.

Employee #1 should be able to do the following:

  • Relentless ability to prospect new customers.
  • Persistent follow up with leads and prospects.
  • Learn to perform a product demo (but the founder(s) should try to do the first 500 demos).
  • Ability to implement new customers.
  • Manage existing customer accounts.
  • Recruit new employees.
  • Attend trade shows.
  • Discuss product enhancements needed to help achieve product/market fit.

These are just some of the many traits to look for when hiring the 1st employee. In a very early stage startup, both the employee and the employer are taking a risk on each other, but the startup can reduce their risk by looking for candidates that exhibit the above self-starter traits with the ability to take on multiple responsibilities.

What are some other characteristics/traits startups should look for when hiring employees at an early stage?

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