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| 2 minutes read

Start-up CEOs…Why you should always hold the first interview

I love supporting energy storage start-up clients during their early phases of growth. At the beginning, their team typically consists of the Founders plus a few initial hires from close personal networks or opportunistic hiring. 

Of course, this is a great starter but when the time comes for scaling, start-ups need more specific expertise added to their team and they have to search far and wide for A players from the wider industry.

It's at this point where a robust external interview process is critical - in many cases, this could be the first “formal” interview process for the start-up. The CEO must make sure that any new hires align with the future business needs but also that the unique start-up culture they have built is protected at all costs!

Of course, the format of interviews and who participates can vary depending on the role being hired for, but there one point I consistently advise:

As a start-up CEO, you should always aim to conduct the 1st interview.

Here are some of the benefits:

Telling your story: As CEO, you are typically the visionary behind the start-up and “chief storyteller”. A well crafted, personal and emotive story about the journey to date, will engage the candidate at a deeper level. This is critical in a start-up as you need to sell your company to a candidate as well as them sell themselves to you.

Alignment with company vision & culture: A start-up culture is unique and requires a certain type of individual to thrive in this environment. As CEO, you can convey your company’s mission, cultural values, and goals better than anyone, so by being involved from the get-go, you can assess if the candidate’s values, work style, and personality align with the team dynamics and your unique working environment.

Setting the tone:  Your early involvement in the hiring process sends a strong message to candidates about the importance of the role and their potential impact within the organization. It shows that the CEO is invested in hiring the right talent and care about the team being built. This level of engagement can attract top candidates and demonstrate the start-up’s commitment to excellence.

Building rapport and trust: Your direct interaction with candidates can help establish rapport early on. The candidate is more likely to engage with you at a deeper level and immediately develop trust in your leadership style, if they see they can ask open questions directly to their CEO of the company.


Of course, its important to consider scalability and time constraints as a start-up grows. As the company gets bigger, the hiring needs will expand, & processes will naturally need to evolve too. It is important start-ups identify the inflection point in their hiring and at this point, the CEO may need to delegate initial interviews to other trusted team members while maintaining involvement in the final stages of candidate selection.

However, in those early scale-up days, CEO depends on the context but in those early days of external hiring, I think it is vitally important!

If you're a start-up CEO who is looking for expert support in your upcoming hiring process then contact me today at

It could be said that your success as CEO or Leader of any team, is based on who you hire, and who you fire. Do you want to leave that responsibility to someone else?


c-suite, hiring, interviews, cleantech, energy storage