A former Goldman Sachs employee who launched her own startup says this is the most important trait a job candidate can have


Becca Brown

Courtesy of Becca Brown

Becca Brown with designer Manolo Blahnik.

If you want to work for Solemates, a brand of women's shoe care products founded by two former Goldman Sachs employees, you better be a great team player.


Becca Brown, one of the company's cofounders, says this is the trait she values most in job candidates.

Currently, Solemates has just five full-time employees and five additional contracted workers, says Brown - so it's imperative that everyone get along and work well together. "Candidates have to be willing to work closely with the rest of the team," she says. "We are a small but powerful group, so each person must contribute. In a small company, the sum of the parts has to be greater than each individual."

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Other traits and skills Brown strongly values?

"It depends on the role, but excellent communication skills are very important no matter what," she explains. "Everyone has to contribute and communicate clearly in order for us to operate in the most efficient and productive way possible. We also look for people who are nice, resourceful, organized, diligent, and creative."


Additionally, she says, her team looks for self-starters who can run with projects on their own. "Since we are small and are growing, we don't always have a strict process or method to go about doing something. We look for candidates who can contribute by helping to create the process, in some cases, or at least, who have a willingness to see something through from start to finish.

becca and monica

Courtesy of Becca Brown

Brown (left) and Solemates cofounder Monica Ferguson (right).

"I think that's one of the biggest differences between working at a start-up versus a large existing company. At a small company, you have to try a lot of different things, measure their effectiveness, and then based on those results, decide what becomes part of the strategy. We look for candidates that are capable of and excited to embrace this approach."

To figure out if a candidate is a good team player and whether they possess the other traits she mentioned, Brown has each job candidate meet everyone on the Solemates team.

"This is a hiring practice we used at Goldman Sachs," she says. "The team is only a team if everyone gets a say in the hiring process. When interviewing, it's important for us to have the candidate meet and interact with other team members, so we can decide if it's a good fit for everyone."

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