Who Should I Hire (or, Dealing with the Startup Hiring Dilemma)?

I’ll take a great team over a great idea in business any day of the week (of course, having both is even better). Why is that? Because ideas are often fleeting – markets change, technology evolves, competition is a moving target and customers are, sometimes, fickle. Great teams can adapt and continually innovate. Great ideas without great teams behind them stagnate.

This is even a bigger problem for startups than it is for established companies. In startups, ideas tend to be in more flux than in mature companies because of the limited time and resources startups have to completely understand the customer. While older companies aren’t immune to these challenges, they are generally not subject to the same limitations.

So, how does any organization hire the right people? Well, starting with a great team helps, of course, but understanding what’s important in expanding it is crucial. Here are a few things to ask yourself when trying to identify the next person you’ll add to your team.

  • Is there a cultural fit? Far more important than having the knowledge required for the job is whether the candidate will fit in with the rest of the team and, in fact be a driver and communicator of the culture you want in you company.
  • Is the candidate a risk taker? He/she should be. Why would you want someone who is going to move slowly and cautiously in your organization. The best people are aggressive in their actions and play offense all the time.
  • Does the prospective employee fear change? Hope not. In fact, the candidate should love change and even seek it out. Many people are afraid of change and even fight it in passive ways, slowing the organization down. If you want a hard-driving, fast-moving organization, you need people who love to drive and be involved in change.
  • Can the candidate work as part of a team? Not only are great people more effective as individuals, but when put together as part of a team, they can virtually make miracles happen.
  • Does he/she have the skills you’re hiring for? Duh. You’re probably hiring because you’re either stretched too thin or you need new skills in the organization. It’s good to thoroughly check if the candidate actually has these.

This is far from a complete list. There are going to be criteria specific to your organization and core to your success that you’ll add to it. The key point here is that hiring the right people is as important as it gets when it comes to running a company or managing any group of people. It’s the team you have that will make the difference in the end and having the best team possible should never be sacrificed.

Want to learn more about how to build a team? Check out The Startup Playbook for more juicy tidbits.

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1 Comment

  • The Real Donald Trump Reply

    I know people think I don’t read, but I do, and this blog really hits the target. The emphasis on ‘cultural fit’ is right on, and you don’t need to look any further than the excellent job Sarah Sanders is doing compared to Tony Scaramucci. Tony’s a good kid, and while he may be no genius, he’s pretty smart, but Sarah is a much better cultural fit. You should add something about the way to fire people, because that’s very very important.

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