Various factors determine the success of your business and one of such factors is hiring the right talent. You may have worked on your idea, done your market research, raised funds for your business and commenced business successfully but a lot could go wrong if you hire the wrong talent. Bringing on board the right talent is important for any business but for start-ups it is more important as they cannot afford hiring mistakes. Often times, start-ups run on a low budget and are yet to establish credibility so one wrong hire can set the company back several months or force the startup into a handicapped situation.
When looking for the right people to join the exciting and often unpredictable world at your startup, you need to look out for the following characteristics:
- Flexibility: Flexibility is an important attribute that would-be employees in your start-up should possess as they would be wearing a lot of different hats. Because processes in a startup are rarely static, demands within your start-up would require job descriptions to be fluid to accommodate fluctuations which is why an employee with a “beyond my job description” syndrome would probably not be the best fit for your startup. You need to be on the lookout for talent with a high level of adaptability and the willingness to take on newer and bigger challenges. To attract this candidate, word your job description in a manner that conveys the excitement that comes with the job but also specify the need for fluidity in job functions. A rigid candidate would most likely not apply for the position if they know they will be asked to stretch beyond the written responsibilities. When you have candidates in for an interview, ask about their short and long term plans and how they view their career evolving over time. If a candidate has a highly structured view of himself or herself in five years, they might find it difficult to handle the day-to-day adjustments that are typical of startups. Look out for talent with enthusiasm instead and the ability to wear many hats.
- Creativity: Startups are built on creativity and novel ideas. To ensure that your startup thrives, you need constant injections of innovative ideas from everyone around you, largely your employees. It is important to brand your company as a working environment that rewards creativity. When scouting for candidates for your start-up, ensure that the creative culture at your startup is communicated in your advert message for the role. When you have candidates come in for interview, discuss your startup’s creative approach and present likely scenerios which would require creativity to handle and listen intently for responses that align with your company culture.
- Passion: Starting a business is a tough process and you need employees who understand that. There would be times when sacrifices seemingly outweigh benefits and only people passionate about what they do would stick through. While it is important to communicate this when scouting for employees for your start-up, it is more important to listen during the interview process for hints that either corroborate the candidates claim or contradicts it as candidates are likely to say what they think you want to hear at an interview.
- Honesty: As your startup scales up, chances are your employees would grow with you and stick around for the long haul. It is important that you recruit honest and trustworthy candidates who are straightforward about their skills, capabilities and limitations. Look out for red flags during the application process. If a candidate cannot back up information provided on a resume, you are probably better off without them. During the interview process, watch out for false bravado. You need candidates who are honest and realistic about their capabilities not candidates that are good at bragging and poor at following through.
- Good communication skills: You need candidates with good communication skills as they will be the face of your company, interfacing with internal and external stakeholders. You want people who can represent you well whether you are available or not.
While you are on the lookout for candidates with these attributes for your startup, you want to also make sure your startup is as appealing as possible to the prospects of your choice, bearing in mind that there are other companies scouting for the same set of good hands. To set your startup apart from the competition, you should:
- Find your competitive advantage: As a startup, you may not be able to offer juicy perks like the big firms but you can do alot to make your company a desirable place to work in while keeping your eye on costs. For instance you can offer flexible working hours, a casual work environment and even introduce lunchtime activities that will foster a tighter-knit social community within your startup.
- Share your vision: You can attract brilliant talents to your startup by sharing your vision and making the prospect see how they fit in. Sharing your business strategy and past successes with prospective employees would go a long way to instill confidence in your venture and give your prospects good reasons why they should join your team.
- Put in place a defined interview process: Many companies spend time and effort to draw up candidates for roles within their companies but end up losing good candidates because of a sloppy interview process and bad interviewers. Have a defined process. The day of the interview shouldn’t be the day you are running around looking for someone who is less busy to handle the interview. Good candidates would see through the disorganization and a sloppy first impression may be all a candidate needs to decide whether to work at your startup or not. Put your best people in front of the candidates. They are selling your company by everything they say, do and by the way they act.
Hiring may be a long and tiring process but the reward that follows is worth the hassle; a stable and growing business. While jumping the process to quickly hire a helping hand might look appealing, the consequences of hiring the wrong team come at a price that many startups never recover from. These tips should guide you on this important process of hiring for your startup.