How to Screen a Candidate for the Ability to Perform Under Pressure

(UPDATE: Read the bonus advice from recruiter Ron Jennings in the comments below.) Finding a person that will meet or exceed your expectations during the early phases of a startup is mission critical. So much is riding on the success of your early hires.

In addition to the right skill and culture fit, you want to hire people who thrive at a 7-9 stress level, don’t crack when it spikes to 10.

I just finished a session with the Founder/CEO of a company that is hiring two executives. They have a million in seed investment and one shot to make this work.

My suggestions are meant to be a starting point, to get you thinking about the questions you should ask to figure out in advance how a candidate will perform under stress.

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In service,


clients {at}

FROM THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT: Take Michael’s subjective advice at your own risk. Every situation is different and requires special attention. The advice I share is intended to stimulate your own thinking, not replace it. You are the expert in your situation.