Hire the right people for your startup, for now and for the future

Author: Jérémy Bourhis

27th September 2016

Hiring is critical for any organization but can be especially key in a startup. If one person is important in a team of twenty or fifty, then one person is even more important in a business that only has 5 or 6 employees. They’re even more important if the new hire has to become a one-person team and help establish the culture that will help the company grow and succeed.

The success of a company in the early stages rests on a few people – the beta team if you will. This is why founders and entrepreneurs are always a lot more confident hiring people they know or people they have worked with in the past – people who have proved that they can bring value to a business looking to secure its future.

But that only works for a while or for a few positions. There is always a time when company needs to operate a transition between hiring people you know, people you have worked with before, and complete strangers. This transition to a more classic recruitment process can be tricky and conditions the business’ future successes.

So what do you need to look for to guarantee the people you hire are the right fit for your startup now and several years down the line?

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Look beyond the skills needed for the role

Of course the person you decide to hire needs to fill the competency requirements for the role, but there is a lot more to a successful hire. If you have hired people in the past I’m sure you have already felt it during an interview – that feeling that this is the right person, that not only can they do the job but they will thrive doing it and will elevate everyone around them as well. Skills can be taught; it can be harder to do that in a startup with limited resources, but it is better to invest time now and reap the benefits for years to come. Much better than having to go through the recruitment process several times because you haven’t been able to hire the right person.

Build a vision for success

When you hire someone you hire them to fill an immediate need but you should also know what role you want them to grow into several years down the line. If the members of your team know what they are trying to achieve, what they are working towards, and what success looks like then they will be a lot more motivated than when left guessing or with changing priorities. This is why when you hire someone you need to ensure that your business’ goals and their professional goals are aligned, That way, they never feel like they are stagnating.

You want team players…

In a startup, job descriptions and responsibilities are not carved into stone. Employees need to be willing to go out of their comfort zone to help the team. We see that at Cronofy almost every day – our Marketing person might have to help with sales and our Web Developer with designing business cards. But they have to be happy to do it and understand why they are doing it, otherwise you will sow the seeds for potential tension and discontent.

Try to get references for the people you hire and ask the right questions to gauge how engaged they will.

…with a proven ability to collaborate

Collaboration is key if you want to win and that is true not matter the size of the team. You want your new employees to mesh with your current staff and collaboration means the ability to work together with others, not just alongside others. If, like Cronofy, your company relies on remote working a lot, then it is even more key that your team members understand one another in order to leverage their mutual strengths without spending all day together in the same office.

Don’t create teams of clones: diversity is key

When we hear about diversity nowadays we often think of bringing together people of different ethnicities, gender or social background. That’s obviously a good thing – our differences make us richer. When you build a diverse team you can also just be looking for people with different skills, experiences and outlooks than yourself.

Being questioned by people with a different skill sets is an opportunity to generate a broader range of ideas and can help identify a key weakness that might have been overlooked if all the people in the room came from the same background.

Respect is never overstated

It seems obvious that you should hire respectful people, people who turn up on time at interviews and accept constructive feedback. But respect in successful teams goes a lot further than that. It means that ideas from all team members are genuinely considered and entertained and that what matters is the team success, not personal accomplishments.

Keep in mind that teamwork is one of the few constants that transcend all industries and all types of business.

Conclusion

Hiring is critical, even more so in a startup, where the ability of each individual to impact the future of the company is multiplied. You just have to make sure that you are recruiting for the right reasons and that the person you hire will fit with the business’ burgeoning culture, values, and long term vision.

Avatar of Jérémy Bourhis

Jérémy Bourhis

Date: 27th September 2016 | Category: Business