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Our kind of guy: How to choose the right candidate for startup

Hiring first employees is quite a task for a beginning businessman. On the one hand, your employee has to be smart, experienced, hard-working and responsible, on the other hand, all you can offer this person is a long term perspective.

Photo by rawpixel.com
Photo by rawpixel.com

Hiring first employees is quite a task for a beginning businessman. On the one hand, your employee has to be smart, experienced, hard-working and responsible, on the other hand, all you can offer this person is a long term perspective.

Follow Influencers

If you want to hire top specialists, you need to be well-connected with influencers in your niche or even with competitors. It’ll increase your chances to get the best employees for your team. But only few business novices can boast about good relations. What can you do in this case? Arrange a meeting with those who have been already working in the market. Visit meetups, conferences, and workshops. Lots of successful managers and entrepreneurs will gladly consult you and recommend an expert and where to find him/her.

Forget About Hiring Friends

Working with friends or relatives resembles a Russian roulette. Of course, there are a few successful examples (like Coub) but in general this is a bad idea, and here is why. The most awkward moment for you comes when you have to make a remark concerning their mistakes. The second drawback is your new role towards them - you are no longer peers, the moment you sign a contract you find yourselves in employer-employee relations. This can influence your friendship. And on the contrary, years of teamwork make people good friends.

Avoid Overhiring

Beginner’s enthusiasm is a good thing only to some extent. Having the first investments received startups start to squander money, and as a result of such highrolling, the majority finds themselves in debt even before actually starting the work. It regards to renting a luxurious office, buying posh furniture and also to overhiring. Think about tasks you can complete yourself and… Do it! Hire only when a problem demands too much time and effort to solve. Agile team presupposes everybody being busy with their work, no idling or hanging out. For example, you can easily do without three bored senior mobile app developers for a small project - hire one and delegate routine work to junior(s).

Set Tests

A member of your team needs to be able to find ways out. To make sure of this capability give candidates logical and mathematical problems during the interview. It’s ok if the candidate doesn’t know the solution. Tell the answer and ask to complete a similar task. If the person can solve the problem, he/she is a quick learner able to apply the received knowledge.

Sieve Naysayers

At the early stages, any company needs not only an independent but also a self-motivated worker. The success of your business greatly depends on your future employee’s attitude. If candidates believe in your ideas, it’d be easier for them to find motivation and to do their best. However, if a candidate treats your passionate story about building company culture with skepticism, let him/her go. Skepticism often turns into dissatisfaction and complaints.

Also, take into account psychological compatibility. Mind that you’ll work with that person at least 9 hours a day, so it’s important to choose the one you feel comfortable with. Hiring a person that irritates you from the very beginning will cause more harm than help.

Don’t Promise Pie In The Sky

Honesty explain the candidate that a startup life is not all sweet. Warn that sometimes they’ll have to work overtime and burn the midnight oil. First three or four years they will hardly get any bonuses. Be ready to get lots of refusals because only a few people can agree to these conditions and live in such tempo. But these few are the gems you really need. Some HRs offer to look for such candidates in among students and generally among people under 35 as they are supposed to be more career-oriented. Personally I would avoid this ageist attitude because dedication of your employees doesn’t depend on how old they are.

Check Recommendations

Some companies ignore this rule as they think it’s too old and not applicable to modern reality. Some suppose they are so cool they can look through a candidate a second they see it. Typical mistake. In this way, you give a chance to weaker or shy candidates as they can be charming too. Don’t forget to phone previous employers. A few minutes you spend on a call will save you from a mistake that can cost you a fortune.

Respect The Age

Startups founded by millennials are scared of hiring older people. They feel embarrassed by heading and leading older team members. But the thing is that such people already have a valuable experience, and you won’t spend much time to teach them. Moreover, their experience makes them independent enough without being controlled every single minute.

Arrange Testing Days

Headhunters have learned it perfectly well that interviews don’t usually represent the full potential of a candidate. Even an excellent test guarantees you nothing - cheating, a matter of luck, you know. Agree on testing days to see immediately if this is your kind of guy. You will learn his/her way of thinking and see what was done during a work day. In the beginning, changes occur every now and then so it can also be a test of stress-resistance and fast learning.

This is a YourStory community post, written by one of our readers.The images and content in this post belong to their respective owners. If you feel that any content posted here is a violation of your copyright, please write to us at mystory@yourstory.com and we will take it down. There has been no commercial exchange by YourStory for the publication of this article.
Partner, HR VP at IT outsourcing company

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