Talking talent!

Yashraj Erande
3 min readOct 11, 2022

Engaging with and bringing on board high quality senior talent tends to be one of the top priorities for most senior leaders / investors / founders.

Especially during times of high volatility such as now, it is possible to disproportionately improve talent density if one makes the right moves.

With this in mind, I share my approach for the same. Different people develop different styles. Even if this approach doesn’t lead to perfect outcomes (God knows this is true :-)), it has helped me isolate specifically where I am most likely to go wrong in the decision. So it helps me to manage for that risk better.

Btw, this is a fairly time consuming process and is applicable primarily for CXO / Founder / Co-founder level hiring.

15 questions:

Worldview: Does the person share, enhance or supplement your world-view of the business and industry? If there is complete dissonance – then one of you is right. It’s worth figuring out who.

Risk-Return perception: How does the person perceive and make risk and return trade-offs in their area of expertise? What decisions have they taken and how?

Playbook: Does this person have a high quality playbook for the role s/he is expected to play? How many nuances are there to the play book? Is it better than your play book? Did you learn something?

Road-test: Has the person demonstrated that s/he can apply the play book in the real world which has emotions and imperfect information?

Growth and rationality: Does the person have the humility and curiosity to augment the play book when facts change? Has that been shown? Will the person be open to rational arguments?

Ability to inspire: Can the person inspire other people? Does s/he have loyalty of other high quality talent?

Double-down: Does the person have bounce and energy? Ability to recover from difficult situations and push through rationally. Be self directed.

Cut-losses: Does the person know how and when to cut losses if decisions do go bad?

Ability to think: Does the person have range? Can s/he broadly understand new topics outside their domain from first principles? Helps differentiate between experience (muscle memory) and intelligence

Respect: Do people respect this person? Respect is different from fear or utility. Sometimes indistinguishable but very important to know the difference. Often respect comes more from peers. Subordinates may mix up fear and respect. Seniors may mix up utility and respect.

Motivation: What is their motivation to leave? To what extent it is to seek better quality of life and work, enhance capabilities, grow…?

ROI: How long and how much will you have to invest in the person before the person adds value to the franchise? How much upside is possible and where?

Assimilation: Will there be organ rejection from the rest of the team of this person? If yes – why and how to manage? Will the person take the effort to integrate?

Glidepath: Does this person have a going-in view on their 100 day plan after joining? Where does s/he want to invest their time early on?

Goal clarity: Can you and s/he agree on a simple mid term (12 months) definition of success for their role?

I always consider every opportunity to meet high quality people one of the biggest blessings of corporate life. So much to learn and get inspired by.

PS: Views are personal.



Yashraj Erande

MD and Partner BCG | Former Founder Growth Source / Protium (NBFC FinTech) | Economic Times 40 Under 40