No matter how far along your company is, work culture matters. Even in an environment occupied by just two people, a strong rapport is nonnegotiable. Interviews for a first employee tend to focus on their ability to work well under pressure, pitch in on a range of tasks quickly, and get details right. Culture doesn’t usually enter the picture until much later. But that’s the wrong approach–you need to test how well your new staffer can work with the rest of your team (even if that’s just you) in addition to sizing up their qualifications for the help you’re looking to get.
Phil Tadros, CEO of Doejo, tells me the focus should really be on that relationship, which is the first brick in the foundation of your company’s culture:
You’re trying to make sure your intentions and goals line up. Sometimes the right partner can be the opposite of you, but you make it work because you have to get along. A lot of people say you shouldn’t work with friends. I think if you’re going to build that relationship, you want them to be a really good friend. Whether you start that way or get there, you want to grow something with people you want to be around.