How The MVPs of SaaStr Hire

It’s Day One of SaaStr 2016–are you lacing up your networking shoes? In an industry as fast-paced and high-growth as SaaS, networking is a crucial part of conference success. It’s a great way to meet partners, connect with customers, and–for many growing organizations–fill open head count. (For most fast-growth SaaS teams, recruiting is always top of mind!)

If you’re one of the many people recruiting (or looking for your next opportunity) SaaStr is the place to be. The show draws growth-minded leaders, experienced in taking a company through that critical $100M milestone, top tier sales, marketing and customer-success professionals alike; so if you’re an A-Player, it’s a great place to connect.

Whenever it comes to the secrets of growth, most SaaS leaders say the same thing–the ability to hire high-performing and engaged employees is a CRUCIAL skillset–especially when you’re navigating the challenges of scaling a company.

But can you recognize an A-player when you meet one?

Since many SaaS companies exist in what feels like a perpetual growth-spurt, I polled some of my favorite SaaStr speakers to get guidance on what they look for when hiring. Here’s what they said.

“When you’re building a team, what are the most important skills you’re looking for in a hire?”


“The single most important skills I hire for are desire (some say hunger), humor and grit. In the startup world, hard skills can be taught, tools can be learned–but without aptitude in these three areas, you will never thrive in the startup culture.”

Annie Tsai

Chief Customer Officer at DoubleDutch

Love DoubleDutch? Join Annie for her session, “Customer Success: Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes. I Did.” That’s on Thursday at 3:30pm in the Tactical Theater. DoubleDutch is also the provider of the SaaStr 2016 app–if you really want to boost your networking potential, make sure you download it before heading to the show!


“I love it when a candidate can bring both curiosity and a love of data to the table. It’s important to have a great passion to learn, to get under the hood and figure out how things work, and to test out new ideas–but just as important to understand how data can help you have fact based-conversations with people to move projects forward and to understand how to scale things in a big way.”

Matt Price
SVP of Marketing & Emerging Business at Zendesk

As part of a company that has experienced incredible growth, Matt knows a thing or two about hiring. Learn more from him in his session, “Managing and Scaling Globally (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)”–he’ll be on stage Wednesday, 3:30pm in the Tactical Theater.


“I look for three things:
1. Intellectual curiosity (trying to find the why vs answering just the what)
2. Resiliency (passion, motivation, the “can do” attitude)
3. Athleticism (energy, sense of urgency, grit, ‘no pain no gain’)

– I find this combination of skills powerful and worthy of investing in.”

Andrea Austin
VP of Enterprise Sales at InsideView

InsideView is another company that has had to make smart hires fast in order to navigate intense periods of growth. Hear more from Andrea during her session, “Whale Hunting: Negotiating, Handling, and Closing” on February 10th in the Tactical Theater.


“Experience and skills are overrated. Too often people look for a laundry-list of acronyms and specific experiences in someone’s past. Instead, science shows that the best performers don’t want to do the same job over and over again, they want new challenges. That’s why the best companies hire for ability, insight, potential, and fit.”

Daniel Chait
CEO at Greenhouse

As CEO of Greenhouse, an applicant tracking system provider (and Hired partner), Daniel is living and breathing recruiting. Learn more from him in the session, “Building a Killer Company in a Nonobvious Market.” That’s on the Strategy Stage at 3:30 on Wednesday.


“What I’m REALLY looking for–first and foremost–is someone with a good character, ambition, STRONG listening and communication skills (to really hear what the customer is telling us, even if they aren’t actually telling us), and a resilient willingness and desire to embrace our team culture. I believe the most successful reps are VERY motivated to succeed at a personal level, but they also value the importance of succeeding as a team. Even more importantly, they take pride in happy successful customers, and do everything they can to help customers realize the true value and ROI of what we sell.”

Lacey Bell

AVP of Enterprise Sales at Adobe Systems

Adobe knows how important it is to hire the right people–especially when it comes to meeting the changing needs of customers. Lacey will be sharing her expertise on Wednesday at 2:30pm in the Tactical Theater in a session called, “How to Really Sell into The Enterprise.”


“I look for the things I can’t teach: eager to learn, easy to coach, passionate, driven, goal oriented, smart, articulate and most important curious. If the candidate doesn’t ask me insightful questions during the interview process, they won’t get hired.”

Emmanuelle Skala

VP of Sales at Influitive

At Influitive, Emmanuelle is experiencing the challenges of rapid growth first-hand. Hear how she’s successfully navigating them to grow a great team in her session, “Hiring that Great (First) VP of Sales.” That’s today at 11am on the Strategy Stage.

Got additional thoughts about making a great hire?

Share them in the comments, or come discuss with us at the Hired Booth (we’re #17)–hope to see you there!