Failed Founders Are The Best Hires For Their Knowledge And Character

Nobody starts a company thinking there is a chance they will fail.   This just simply does not happen.  Every founder thinks they ultimately will be very successful.  Failure is not an option.  Unfortunately, it happens.  This should not deter a company looking for talent.  A failed founder is the best hire for their knowledge and character alone.

Companies typically don't shut down for many different reasons.  In the end most founders had good ideas and could scale a business but they could not find the necessary money to make it stick.  The reasons companies shut down are simple for the most part.

  1. Great idea but ran out of funding
  2. Bad idea and ran out of money
  3. Not cut out to scale a startup and, therefore, ran out of money.

In the end, it comes down to running out of money.  As a company is running out of money founders, begin to change their thought process to what am I going to do if this falls apart? While we can pretend this does not happen, it does because that is human nature.   It is a question that comes across every founders mind as it is a pertinent question of survival.  Bills still need to be paid, food needs to be put on the table, and people need to continue to function and that takes money.  One of the biggest questions that cross a founders mind when they see that their dream is quickly becoming a nightmare is what will people think of me?  Will this affect my ability to get a job?  Will people look at me like a failure?  I have this question run through my mind all the time.  Human nature states we have a very short-term memory when it comes to success or failure.  We are all as good as our last win.  When I think about this I wonder will I be judged on my complete body of work or the last venture I participated in?  It is a valid question.  If I am to fail then does the fact that I have had a successful career make up for that?  It should, but I think everyone sees things differently.  You cannot ever learn if you don't try and fail.  Failing is a critical part of growing a s a person, and the most successful people in this world have all failed miserably time and time again, but they don't quit.    This is a question many founders are trying to answer today as every day there are companies that cease to exists. Having the understanding that a failure is a tool that can be used in other ventures is what makes a leader great.  Great leaders hire founders who have had failures because they know they understand what it means to strive for greatness and how they have dealt with a failure shows they can get back up dust themselves off and try again.  This is a great quality to have in a person when hiring for a job.

  There are so many variable to a company and the success of a company that you need to look at the whole experience from start to finish to determine if the founder or CEO had the opportunity to really make it a success and was it just that the timing was off.  What you do as your company is sinking is where character is shown.    Taking a look at the chaotic shut down of Zirtual when CEO Maren Kate Donovan decided at 1 am to send an email to her staff letting them know they were shutting down effective immediately was probably the wrong thing to do.  In my 25 years or so I have never heard of a story so blatant and horrible.  Over 400 people suffered and had no notice whatsoever.  Unfortunately, this was a complete blunder and had lots of backlashes all over social media.  I wrote a blog post on this when it happened as I was mortified someone would do this to people.   While that is an extreme, and many people would never do such a dastardly thing to the people that count on them there are still many cases of needing to walk away.  While I have no idea, I would imagine that she is not perceived as someone who would be trusted with another opportunity much less, others futures.  Then there are the more everyday garden variety closings when a company just runs out of funding.  In most cases, this is something the CEO or founder is transparent about, and the employees are made aware of the situation.  While many may flee your character stays intact.  It is not that the CEO or founder made mistakes it is they could not find the right funding.  Maybe they did not have the right connections, or they were simply a little late.  These people should be gauged on their overwhelming display of work ethic.  A founder generally works longer hours than most people and should be rewarded in the job market for this.  They are generally loyal and will do whatever it takes to be successful.  The fact they could not make it work on their own is not a case for failure.  It just states it was not meant to be.  I would hire a failed founder in a heartbeat knowing they understand what it means to put in a day's work and their passion for greatness will hopefully rub off on others

A failed founder is without question one of the most experienced people to go after in the job market.  They have shown they will take risks and do what it takes, they will work long hours to achieve success, they know how to communicate with customers, they can blend all the different pieces of a company's operations into one and most importantly they are now very hungry for success.

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