You know you have to be a multitasker when you are starting a new company. However, as your company grows and more work starts to pile up, you will need other people to share some burden. You will need to expand. And that’s when teamwork becomes necessary (1).
At that point, you will realize the significance of hiring the right people because they can either help you take the company to a new success mark or bring it down (2).
In short, having the right people in your team is as crucial as having an excellent product idea or business plan for any startup. After all, your people would make your company successful at the end of the day.
It makes hiring the right team one of the greatest challenges you will have to accomplish as an entrepreneur. And, here are some hiring tips that should help you do it right!
Define Your Goals and Objectives
Ensure that your business goals and company objectives are well defined before you get started with a hiring process (3). It also includes your expectations with the people you are looking to hire, the position you are looking to fill, necessary qualifications, and how you want your company culture to be!
It may sound cliché. However, it is essential to ensure that every team member has similar professional goals as your own and your vision for your company.
Write Thorough and Specific Job Post
Candidates go through multiple interviews and different companies before landing with one. They get various experiences, some good and some bad. However, there are certain companies they would always be glad they never joined.
It includes companies with poorly written job posts and descriptions. It is common for candidates to prepare for any interview as per the job requirements and responsibilities.
However, when your job posts are not clear, and in an interview, they realize a misalignment between job descriptions and your expectations, it can leave a really bad taste in their mouth. Consequently, you will be at risk of losing a great candidate (4, 5, 6). You don’t want that to happen, do you?
In addition to writing a thorough job description, you don’t want to write generic or vague descriptions. Instead of writing “engineer” or “analyst,” write specific terms like a data engineer or a business analyst. Remember, when you write a vague job description, you will also get vague applications.
Now, whether you are posting a job via LinkedIn or other niche job posting platforms like KillerLaunch, there are few things common in most job postings. It includes job title, company name and description, roles and responsibilities, company value, employee benefits, and salary details. Offer as many details as possible.
As we mentioned, have a specific job title, for say, “Brand Strategist,” and then extrapolate the responsibilities and requirements from there. Talking about your company and values can also be a good starting point.
While writing a job description, find out the tasks and roles unique to this position for your company. It is recommended that you ask adjacent team members who will closely work with this new hire to understand the role and what value the person should bring and fulfill (7).
Similarly, it is also a good habit to have an exit interview and ask a departing employee how well they believe their position is aligned with the original job description. We are sure you will get a handful of shrewd edits from both sources.
Also, if you are offering extra perks to your employees like the number of leaves, health insurance, free food, etc., do mention them in your job posting. Don’t shy away from selling the job position (8).
You can make a stellar job posting following our tips above. However, it often fails to include one of the biggest motivators to join your company: salary information.
Yes, it is still a taboo topic. Some companies even feel that disclosing salary information, even a range is a disadvantage because they won’t be able to negotiate, or their competitors may use it to their advantage (9). In addition, there are also concerns about unqualified people applying because of the attractive salary.
However, I would like to highlight that your bigger concern as a startup should be your potential best candidates moving past the job posting altogether because they didn’t see a number making the application worth their while (10).
Here is an example of a killer job post we found on LinkedIn:
Have Discussions With Your Candidates
It is easy to think of interviews as interrogations. However, I would like to argue that it is better to have discussions with your candidate. Make them feel comfortable, ask them professional questions, and more importantly, give them opportunities to ask back (11).
A healthy two-way conversation will allow you to learn more about your candidate, them about your organization, company culture, and values. Why even restrict them to a small conference or interview room.
Take unorthodox and creative ways to conduct interviews (12), such as having video group discussions for remote jobs or showing your candidates around the office, taking them for lunch, or introducing them to your present employees, and encouraging light conversations.
You can know a great deal about your potential recruit by paying attention to what your candidates ask you and your current employees. Their nature of questions will show you where they stand with the job opportunity. Their interactions with employees will also be worth paying attention to since a candidate will soon be joining the same team.
Below are some excellent questions you can ask your potential candidates:
Q.1 “Describe Yourself in three words.”
Your candidates’ answers will tell you how well your candidates know themselves, how they may best fit into your organization, and how decisive they can be. It is not easy to narrow down one’s personality into three words, and doing it at a moment’s notice and with confidence indicates a good decision-maker.
Q.2 “Where do you see yourself in the next five or ten years?”
Most companies have hires who are short-term and those who will stick around. Don’t get me wrong here; both types of people are important to build a successful company. However, depending on their answer, you can decide which position the candidate is most suitable for.
Q.3 “What are your three greatest weaknesses?”
The key is to ask for about three weaknesses. Otherwise, you will get those stock interview answers such as “I work too hard” or “I am a perfectionist,” etc. However, when you ask for three, you will force your applicant to say at least one real weakness.
Q.4 “If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?”
In a way, you are asking about your candidates’ passions without directly asking, “What are your passions?” To which you will get answers such as “my dog” or “art.” This way, you can make them think harder and answer more truthfully, which will allow you to know more about them.
The key is to phrase your questions more creatively (13).
You may already know what qualities you would like to have in your superior. Look for the same qualities for your subordinates.
Why? Because, today, you may be a small startup working in a tiny room. However, as you expand your business, you will need those same people to lead others. And if that works well, you will be able to build an entire team of people who harbors the same quality as your ideal superior and whom you would love to see every day (14, 15).
What Personality Traits to Look:
When you are looking for a new hire for your startup, ensure they have at least the following three qualities:
- Emotional Resilience: You want your early team members to be able to bounce back from failure. If a person is easily flattened after hearing “no,” they can’t do well at startups. Consider it a red flag.
- Versatility: Consider candidates who can perform multiple tasks because you need a versatile and flexible team as a growing company with limited resources.
- Budget-Conscious: Those who are fast and loose with money aren’t good for early-stage budget-constraint startups. Your top candidates should know how to carefully and efficiently use money.
Know the Best Places to Recruit
Big career platforms are not always the best places for startups to find their ideal candidates. The competition for talented people on such websites can be pretty stiff. Instead, try to find niche career sites and approach candidates directly using platforms like KillerLaunch and LinkedIn.
If your company website is getting decent traffic, consider creating a Join Us or Career page with details on open positions in your company and invite interested candidates to reach out to you.
Also, put effort into growing your connections as much as possible and always keep an eye out for talent (16). Even though you may not need to hire at the moment, keep an eye for talented people, and connect with them so you can reach out to them in the future when you may need their services.
Consider Implementing a Testing Phase or Probation Period
Organizations are increasingly turning towards pre-employment testing as a guide for making hiring decisions. Such services offer a strategic assessment that can help you read your potential full-time recruit’s personality, aptitude, technical skills, and more.
Another way is creating a task simulation that asks candidates to perform a routine task as a part of the hiring process to see their performance on the job. Such tests will also allow you to see who is motivated for the job and highlight the ability of even an entry-level candidate who may not have extensive experience but the right skills you need (17).
You can also put new hires on probation to understand that you can let them go if they are not up to the responsibility. All of these strategies can give you extra confidence in your hiring process and minimize the risk.
Look out for Red Flags
There is a general rule that people need to behave their best during a job interview. After all, the stakes are high. Hence, if a disappointing behavior meets your eye, don’t ignore it.
The classic red flag includes poor preparation, tardiness, inability to answer openly about leaving the past job or previous experiences. You can see too much self-talk as an egoistic behavior, a person who is more likely to blame others in case of any issue. Simultaneously if the candidate is not indulging in enough self-talk, you can see it as an indication of dependence on others or lack of interest in the job (18).
In addition, if a candidate is not asking any questions in return, it can also be a dead giveaway.
Question Whether A New Hire is Necessary
Have the boldness to ask yourself whether you need to hire a new employee. See if you can divide the responsibilities among current team members. Or consider whether a freelancer fulfills the role.
Multiple platforms such as Upwork or Toptal make it easier for businesses to connect with creative professionals who deliver key tasks. You won’t need to hire a new full-time employee (19).
Here are some positions you can outsource:
- HR and payroll specialists
- Web designers, developers, and programmers
- Content writers
- Digital marketers
- Attorneys and legal advisors
- Accountants and financial advisors
Trust Your Instincts
If you have doubts about any candidate, try to figure out the reason (20).
You will have to decide once you are done with the entire interview process. We have heard from many individuals that they have sometimes made the mistake of not listening to their instincts about the person they were interviewing.
You may have pressure to fill a position quickly. You may be tired of interviewing endless people to find the right candidate. It can be tricky when it comes to hiring.
And at one time or another, you will have to roll the dice. Remember, no one is perfect. However, borrowing some of the tips should help improve your chances.
- It is smart to start hiring from the top and then expand your team as per available resources.
- Your major focus should be hiring roles that can strengthen your business’s internal and external relationships.
- It is essential to keep your company culture, values, and objectives in mind when filing for startup positions.
We are sure tips for hiring the right people can go beyond what we have mentioned here. However, the above points are among the essential advice young entrepreneurs should follow when scaling their businesses.
Which of these tips have you already applied in your hiring strategies? Have you learned something new? Are there any tips we have missed that you believe are important? Let us know in the comments below!