Following the dawn of your business idea, hiring for your startup is quite possibly the most defining step you will take as an entrepreneur. It can seem like a daunting task, but keeping an eye out for the right qualities can be a balm for the process. It will tell you whom to trust, which is only thing you take away at the end of the day because what you trust them with is nothing less than your future.
The quality of a person that stands out first is their confidence, or a lack thereof. Making this distinction is, however, not of utmost importance. What you do need to look out for is the fine line between confidence and arrogance, and recognising which side your potential candidate stands on. You need a person who is sure not only of their abilities but also of their limitations. A person who’s willing to grow has more to offer to the growth of your business than one who’s ignorant of their need to improve.
It is a universally accepted truth that the workload of a startup can be exponentially high, especially in the initial stages; and it is a given that you need someone who can handle that amount of stress. Handing stress is, however, an arbitrary phrase that’s thrown around without giving much thought to how it really works. When your potential hire ‘handles’ stress, they come very close to a breaking point but find ways to remain calm because they understand the importance of the task at hand. With that in mind, the person you need to look out for is someone who’s been to hell and back, and, if one had to romanticise, a person willing to make this journey for you.
A startup is no different than a toddler needing a bountiful diet for a healthy growth; it’s greedy for ideas and suggestions that raise it to a respectable platform, and an employee that can contribute to this growth. You need a person who has a mind of their own because a yes-man will only take your business to dead ends. A thinking machine that can generate ideas, innovate, and improvise will look for alternative routes your business can take to reach the spotlight.
Having a specific skillset is impressive, no doubt, but the ability to learn about and integrate different aspects of your business is a gem to look out for. Such a person comes with a high degree of reliability and a strong shoulder for responsibility. Committing to a startup requires giving up horse-blinds and acquiring a bird’s eye view and only someone who’s genuinely interested in your business venture can do this. Ask you potential hire if they can be ‘part of the crew, part of the ship’.
Since you’re only looking to hire Humans, you will inevitably be hiring their potential for mistakes. Mistakes are a given with increased responsibility, so hire a person who is willing to be accountable for their own, to provide solutions, and to not let their mistakes stop them from taking calculated risks – a common consequence of mistakes. In this, you will see their humility and their ability to adapt.
These qualities are quite easy to spot during an interview; while some are obvious, some may require probing in the form of situational questions or questions that dig into their previous experiences. Having a good understanding of what your startup needs will make the process of hiring, a piece of the most gratifying cake.