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Setter founder only hires people who have failed before



setter david steckel
Setter cofounder David Steckel.

  • If you’ve never failed before, you won’t get a job at the
    home-maintenance startup Setter.
  • That’s a rule developed by Setter cofounder David Steckel,
    who said if a job candidate hasn’t made any professional
    mistakes, it’s a red flag.
  • Steckel drew the rule from his personal experience founding
    the company, and said he is looking for people who can talk
    candidly about their failures and mistakes and learn something
    from them.

During a job
, you’re expected to show off your best self.

But if you come off as a little too perfect, that’s a turnoff for
some employers.

In fact, one startup founder has a rule to weed out job
candidates who seem a little too good to be true: If you’ve never
failed, you’re not getting the job.

“If I’m interviewing someone and they tell me they’ve
gotten everything right in life, that’s a red flag right there,”
David Steckel, the founder of the home-maintenance company
wrote on LinkedIn
. “Because it means they’ve never gone out
of their comfort zone. Never pushed themselves to the edge and
beyond. Never faced an obstacle larger than their skill

Steckel said he drew his rule from
his own experience
as an entrepreneur. He cofounded Setter in 2015 as a way to help
customers manage all their home-maintenance projects in one

This month, the Toronto-based company announced it
raised $10 million in Series A funding
. But the first
iteration of the company, Steckel told Business Insider, was a
failure that cost him $100,000. His problem was trying to do too
much by himself, which led him to enlist cofounder and CEO
Guillaume Laliberte.

Read more:

9 puzzling interview questions from real execs that seem to have
nothing to do with the job

Now, Steckel can relate to job applicants who can talk
candidly about mistakes they’ve made in their careers.

“The type of person that I’m looking for in any role at
Setter is comfortable talking about experience where a project
has backfired, utterly failed, the outcome was the opposite of
what was desired, or if they’ve just made a mistake that
negatively affected a deal, customer, or opportunity,” he told
Business Insider.

As for the type of person they’re not looking for? Steckel
recalls one example that stands out.

His team was interviewing a potential hire and was asking him
about times something went wrong on the job. The applicant’s
answers, to Steckel’s disappointment, shifted the blame to his
coworkers and supervisors.

“He never once used an example with ‘I’ as the subject that
made a mistake,” Steckel told Business Insider.

“This interviewee clearly believed that they never did
anything wrong in their life. The ability to be humble is part of
our culture, and this candidate was very focused on laying blame
rather than learning.”

The critical element is learning from your mistakes and
being honest about them, he added.

“If you’ve played video games, you know you can never beat
the boss on the first try. It might take 10, 50 or even 100
attempts,” he wrote on LinkedIn.

“What I’m looking
for are the people who keep trying.”

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