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“By hiring the right people, you set your team up for success.”

LystenNetwork’s guest for this Featured Founder article is Phoebe Yao, the founder of Pareto. Pareto is a women-owned and operated virtual task force startup. Their goal is to help businesses and teams automate day-to-day data-heavy tasks. Businesses can outsource their repetitive tasks like managing lists of beta testers, screening applicants for recruitment, or researching and testing competitor technologies to Pareto. 

Phoebe has created a system that combines machine automation with human Quality Assurance (QA). This allows Pareto to deliver higher accuracy and more relevant results that fit businesses’ needs.

The QOI (Quote of the Interview) is: “Set people up for success by helping them understand what the values and principles are explicitly for the company so that they know how to be aligned”.

Phoebe shared that her role as the founder of Pareto has allowed her to learn a lot about people. Just two months ago, Pareto hired its first employee. Phoebe said that it’s been “going amazingly” and even “doubled the pace of the progress [Pareto] is able to make.” But the journey of hiring for a startup wasn’t easy. Phoebe told me 3 aspects to consider when hiring for a startup that she learned by founding Pareto.


1. Company Culture

Phoebe highlighted that Pareto is building a space where women in developing countries can work closely with entrepreneurs around the world. These women are able to experience helping build small businesses, and receive ongoing feedback, support, and mentorship, all the while working from home with flexible hours. 

In order to accomplish these goals, Phoebe actively puts in the effort to “create a super tight-knit team”. Your employees contribute to the culture and environment of your company. An employee who is unpleasant or difficult to work with brings down the overall morale of their fellow coworkers. Anyone who has ever worked in a team knows: good morale is easy to lose, twice as hard to build. When good employees are working in a poor environment, more often than not, they choose to leave. Those employees leaving causes an impact on the workflow, productivity, your customers, and eventually, your brand. Phoebe said that her responsibility as a founder is to communication her vision to her team members. That vision includes her idea of a positive, collaborative, encouraging company culture as well. Pareto’s carefully cultivated work culture is at risk if they hire the wrong employee.


2. Value Aligned

Most companies have a list of values that they abide by and their overall mission. Phoebe emphasized that “it’s critical to filter out people who are operating on a different set of values than you are”. This doesn’t mean disqualifying candidates because you have differing opinions on pineapple pizza. Candidates who aren’t mission-aligned or those who don’t share the same fundamental values are those to be wary of. Phoebe looks for “people who don’t just care about tech, but also about the impact they’re trying to make.” A common example is a team of rowers. Regardless of the ability of the rowers, if they row out of sync, they will never make any progress.


3. Brand Representatives

You may accidentally hire the wrong person, it’s almost inevitable. Even if the employee leaves the company, they may still cause issues for your brand. Whether you love your employees or not, they still represent your brand. “It’s not just about your time working with someone, but it’s also about afterward,” Phoebe warns. “Your company and your brand are still associated with that person.” Your company’s brand, its image, is incredibly powerful. It’s the reason why everyone, even children, will recognize Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter logos. Your brand represents your company, whether that’s a good or bad thing. Even if an employee is no longer with your business, they can affect your brand. This is a serious aspect that Phoebe takes into account during her hiring process. 

All things considered, Phoebe is grateful for how hiring for Pareto has gone thus far. She said that she had to learn a lot about hiring for a startup in order to find the right people. As Pareto scales, she will continue to preserve her company’s culture. 


LystenNetwork has partnered with Pareto to offer two free hours of Pareto’s services. 


Pareto is currently hiring Software Developers! If any of our LystenNetwork readers are interested, take a look here


Interested in speaking with Phoebe? If you’re interested in reaching out to Phoebe, send her a text through Intercom chat on the website.

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