I asked a founder the other day the following question:
Can you describe a candidate that would be a fantastic hire somewhere else that would never thrive in your organization?
If you can't answer that, it's going to be really difficult to find the people that *will* thrive in your company. Not every candidate is a great hire for every company. Obviously, you want to hire above a certain level of competency and work ethic--but if you're going to find people who really thrive, you need to understand the unique place your company is to work at, and who succeeds there.
Moreover, you need to define it from day one, and it needs to be pervasive throughout all the decisions your company makes, especially the hiring ones.
What do you value in people and how will the presence of those people affect your culture?
Which of these values are unique to your company?
What processes, incentives and language will you use to help shape the environment they work in?
Which of these are unique to your company?
Ideally, a company should be able to announce to the world, "This is what we value in people and this is how we work" and it should attract the right people and dissuade the wrong ones.
Most seed funded companies either never get around to these definitions, or create ones that could apply anywhere, valuing "hard work" or "diversity" without really ever stating in specific terms what that means.
A company's culture and values should turn away super qualified applicants that would succeed elsewhere, but clearly wouldn't be a fit for this specific environment. Otherwise, prepare to cycle through a lot of people without a clear idea of why they didn't work out or perform up to and beyond expectations.