Having worked with a few startups and spoken to a few of my entrepreneur friends, colleagues and seniors in the industry, I've realized one of the most challenging things for startups is recruitment.
Hiring the right candidate for an evolving, emerging business is crucial and, typically, the right candidates tend to be those who are reliable, possess entrepreneurial traits too, and takes the initiative regardless of the circumstances.
But the question is, how do we go about ensuring the latest recruit is good and will be an asset for the amount of time, money, resources and mentoring you are about to invest in him or her? I'm not sure if there's a sure formula for success here, just like any other aspects of entrepreneurship. So I thought of taking a look at a few key elements that might help in making these decisions easier as an entrepreneur in today's market.
What do you need?
As much as you'd like a jack-of-all-trades type of employee, it's not ideal. Yes, it's always good to have someone who can take on the mantle of any job witout having a specific scope, but you should always define the boundaries for the employee to get the most out of him or her.
Try and create a job description as simple as needed, but give a perspective of tasks that the candidate can expect to tackle. Define key skills that are required for the job. Set expectations on what you're offering and what you need. Decide what skills are trainable and what are not such as soft skills like empathy, and weigh up the importance of these aspects to the job.
Don't stress on recruiting stars
Not every role needs a star candidate with outstanding attributes. Some of your employees may possess such great potential but lack team spirit, and they may eventually become misfits in the company. It's okay if one's skills are not up to the mark, but the person must have the right attitude and willingness to learn. Stress on how much you are willing to focus on providing the right kind of mentorship from the start, rather than just focus on hiring folks who know everything and have amazing skills but aren't willing to learn and grow.
Choose a complementary 'intrepreneur'
It might be an ideal scenario for some entrepreneurs if they could just clone themselves to form a company, but that's not likely to happen. As an alternative, look out for employees who show a sense of entrepreneurial spirit, or "intrepreneurs" as I'd like to call them. These are people who have the potential to be thought leaders, and likely manage the company on their own without much handholding.
Usually you'd be able to identify these people assets through scenario-based questions and psychometric tests if you can afford to invest time and resources on these assessments.
Tap into your networks, resources
This is something a lot of entrepreneurs these days work on and benefit from, more often than not. Small businesses tend not to recruit via the conventional interview route but would pick up employees through startup events or hackathons.
However, be sure to set the right expectations and make sure the candidate knows you're hiring based on their skills and ability, rather than existing friendships. This will help you make sure you don't hire the wrong person and the potential recruit will know the company's vision and what he or she is expected to deliver once hired. .
Share your startup's vision
On that note, it's important to deliver a clear vision of your dream, goals and objective for the company. Having the bigger picture will help potential recruits understand the roles they will play in helping you achieve these goals.
Sometimes it's even good to be blunt and honest to tell a candidate what he or she does not match up yet in terms of their present skills level vis-a-vis the job they are interviewing for. Always help them set individual milestones and ensure your expectations are laid out clearly. A mismatch of expectations always ends up badly, both for the company and the employee.
These are just some basic considerations I think play a key role when hiring candidates for startups. No matter what stage of the startup cycle your company is in, these attributes go a long way in ensuring the right kind of people join your company.
There are, of course, other aspects that come into play and these may come into effect later on as the business grows. What do you think? Any other aspects or fundamental tips you think could be handy for entrepreneurs looking for the right hire?