How to Build Your Startup Team Full of A Players | Dan Martell

Don’t know what to look for in a high performing team? In this video, I’m going to share with you the 6 different characteristics that I look for when hiring A players.

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Over the years I’ve been involved in hiring 100’s of people for my companies.

In the early days when I started a new project I would just grab whoever was nearby and free.

There was ZERO process.

That’s why I struggled to succeed.

I’d say between the ages of 18 – 24 I worked with dozens of different people and most fell extremely short of my expectations.

I hired a bunch of duds.


I didn’t have a filter.

I didn’t know what to look for.

I had no clue what a high performer looked like.

(but apparently, “Cheap” and “Closeby” wasn’t a good way to find’em.)

That’s what this video is all about… the 6 characteristics I use today to hire incredible people.

… Driven people that buy in to your mission, and care about it as much as you do.

… Self-starters who create to-do lists, not just blindly follow them.

… Passionate problem solvers who come to me with solutions.

I stay away from the “problem” oriented people.

Be sure to watch this week’s video to understand the complete list and use it to quickly vet your next top hire.

When I’m interviewing and testing a new hire I’m always looking for the following characteristics:

– They take initiative
– Desire for excellence
– Bias for solution
– Are transparent
– Sense of urgency
– Customer empathy

If you find someone who’s talented and have these traits, then you’ve got a super-star.

Now, I know when I talk about hiring, everyone wants to ask what my top interview questions are…

If you’d like to know the answer, then I’ve got a favor to ask.

Leave a comment with your top interview questions and I’ll leave a couple of my best ones.

Can’t wait to read what you’ve got!

Dan “avoiding the duds” Martell

Don’t forget to share this entrepreneurial advice with your friends, so they can learn too:


“You can only keep what you give away.” That’s the mantra that’s shaped Dan Martell from a struggling 20-something business owner in the Canadian Maritimes (which is waaay out east) to a successful startup founder who’s raised more than $3 million in venture funding and exited not one… not two… but three tech businesses:, Spheric and Flowtown.

You can only keep what you give away. That philosophy has led Dan to invest in 33+ early stage startups such as Udemy, Intercom, Unbounce and Foodspotting. It’s also helped him shape the future of Hootsuite as an advisor to the social media tour de force.

An activator, a tech geek, an adrenaline junkie and, yes, a romantic (ask his wife Renee), Dan has recently turned his attention to teaching startups a fundamental, little-discussed lesson that directly impacts their growth: how to scale. You’ll find not only incredible insights in every moment of every talk Dan gives – but also highly actionable takeaways that will propel your business forward. Because Dan gives freely of all that he knows. After all, you can only keep what you give away.

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  1. Dan Martell
    February 27, 2017

    Any business is a bi-product of their people. Don’t settle for mediocre. Use these 6 characteristics to filter out the duds.

  2. Hugo Levesque
    February 27, 2017

    Stephanie is the best and so are you, Dan #WorldClass

  3. Strategic Thinker
    February 27, 2017

    There's not enough pro-active people to go around. That is why you build systems and check lists. I look forward to greater automation because dealing with people is ridiculous. The only way that worked for me was to set targets and if you miss them twice in a row you're gone.

  4. Coyote_ chuck
    February 27, 2017

    I am some sick of your video ads, I'll tell you that for free

  5. Satyaveer Paul
    February 28, 2017

    Hi Dan,

    I have been learning from your videos for quite some time now and so has been my team as they help us building a World class company.
    I have an employee who possesses all the above characteristics, but there is some kind of problem always around her as she loses her temper n peace very often and quite quickly (just as a kid), how to deal with her?


  6. Entrepreneurs in Cars
    February 28, 2017

    I don't get why don't you have more subs Dan, your biz advice is top shelf, I actually want to do a skype collab video with you and intro you to my EiC audience.

  7. Brown Devil
    March 2, 2017

    Hey Dan can you please talk about stock market

  8. Juan Felipe Campos
    March 5, 2017

    Dan, so impacted by your content. Want to encourage you for sharing this gold info. We've built a business on the backbone of everything you talk about! Thank you thank you!!

  9. Andris Merkulovs
    March 17, 2017

    Amazing advice! I'm saving this video to review it again when I will be hiring

  10. Taivanbat Khadbaatar
    June 3, 2017

    Great entrepreneur, great content! Thanks Dan

  11. SmittenApp TV
    August 27, 2017

    i can so relate… love your work!!

  12. T.L. Simpson
    January 29, 2018


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