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CEO of start-up backed by Steph Curry shares the 2 things he looks for when hiring

Stephen Curry
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Stephen Curry

Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry credits much of his success to private coaching.

That's why the two-time MVP and 2015-16 NBA champion invested in CoachUp, a start-up that connects private coaches with athletes.

CNBC spoke with the Boston-based company's CEO, John Kelley, and asked what he looks for when hiring.

John Kelley, CEO of CoachUp
Source: John Kelley
John Kelley, CEO of CoachUp

"There are two main things," Kelley said. "The first is the individual's personal narrative, as it relates to their career and educational journey," which he gets a sense of by asking one question over and over.

"I push them to answer the whys," he explained. "Why did you choose that college, and that course of study? Why that company or that role? Why did you decide to move on?

"I feel this gives me a deeper understanding of their motivations and goals, which helps me determine whether our company and culture are a good match."

Secondly, he wants to know how the candidate has handled adversity.

"It's no secret that working in a start-up or early stage company is challenging," the CEO said. "In my experience, people who are able to get up after being knocked down are more likely to thrive in the sometimes stressful world of a start-up."