Is this the best startup job application ever?

by | May 2023 | Updates

If it isn’t I’d love to hear a better one.

A few weeks ago we started interviewing for our first proper hire. So far we’ve bootstrapped DQ Ventures and done everything ourselves, with the help of our portfolio companies in more recent months. It’s working, so it’s time for scale.

Following the always-sound advice of our tame recruitment expert, Rob Bryson, we asked for referrals.

“We need a true 10x person.”

As well as posting on LinkedIn and through our quarterly email, we asked people we respect: “Who should we hire?”

Surprisingly quickly we had 3 fantastic candidates – all with very different skills and experience…


Here’s why we had no option but to hire Leanne Beesley:

  1. The person who recommended Leanne said, quite simply, she’s the best person he’s ever worked with. I’ve said that about people before, and I’d hire them again in a heartbeat. Good start!
  2. Leanne interviewed us as much as we interviewed her. She’d read everything we’d written and her questions were precise and well informed.
  3. She made everything easy. No call was too early or late, no request too painful. She made the process quick, easy and pleasant.
  4. Leanne made it 100% clear that this was the ONLY job she was interested in. She wanted it.
  5. She went way beyond what we asked of her. I mentioned our intention to map the relevant VC ecosystems, so that we could do more to help our founders raise capital. She went away and did it, unprompted, then handed over her files, asking for nothing in return.

Here’s the best part…

But this was the clincher (I’ve saved the best for last)…

I told Leanne, truthfully, that we weren’t looking for someone LIKE US.

We wanted someone brutally organised, who could lead the process of industrialising our business and processes for scale.

In the conversation I mentioned a podcast by a chap named Mike Scott.

“Mike is the person I would hire, if I could. As well as coming across as an all-round good guy, he’s extremely organised, clear thinking, efficient, and process oriented.”

I shared a link to Mike’s brilliant podcast, “How to Be Moderately Successful” and suggested she have a listen.

The next day Leanne sent me an email with the subject: “Mike Scott“.

I thought to myself, “Aha, she’s listened to the podcast already!”

But no…

Leanne told me that she’d looked up Mike Scott on LinkedIn. They’d exchanged messages, then they’d had a call.

And on that call, Mike told Leanne that, if she got the job he would be happy for her to check in with him, from time to time, so that he could help steer her in areas where she felt there was room for improvement.

No words.

(…except, of course: “If you want the job, it’s yours.”)


Please join me in welcoming Leanne to the DQ team. She’s already surpassing expectations and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve now that she’s onboard.

P.S. Thanks also to Mike for the kind offer. You really should check out his podcast if you haven’t already. You can find it here.


Image credit

– Featured image by Mohamed Hassan (apologies Leanne that it’s all men!).

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