We tend to work with a number of startups and fast-growth businesses. These companies aren’t always in the tech sector. We’ve found that the idea of being a “startup” or “fast-growth business” is more of a mindset than a defining characteristic. That mindset is one of growth, speed, development, and change. While working with these types of companies, we’ve seen businesses do some great things. We’ve also seen them do some not-so-great things when it comes to hiring. That’s why we encourage businesses and their owners to follow these hiring rules:
Hire for Attitude:
This may be the number one rule for all startups. We see too many employers hire people because they went to a fancy school, or got good grades, or came from a certain area, or even have a certain pedigree. At the end of the day, nothing can take the place of an employee having the right attitude. If an employee cares, is driven, is motivated to succeed, and wants to work with the company – that can take the place of just about anything. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t vet the candidate or drill down into their skills and abilities, but it attitude goes a really long way.
Hire for the Future:
As the CEO of a startup or fast-growth business you should always have your eyes fixed on the horizon. It’s easy to get bogged down into the day to day work (and at times you should) but you should always be thinking about what you want the company to look like in 3, 6, 9, and 12 months and share this vision with others. Tell anyone that asks: prospective investors, vendors, employees, managers, and clients.
Always be honest and real with your employees. In turn, you should ask for your employees (and prospective employees) to be real with you. You should let employees/candidates know if their job is going to eventually grow into a managerial role. You should tell your employees/candidates what they can expect in terms of compensation. Communicate with your employees what you expect from them and what sort of goals they should set for themselves. Often times your employees will be surprised at this sort of openness, and you’ll be able to establish a dialog that will contribute towards a positive work culture and environment.
When you engage with candidates you should make sure that you’re being communicative and professional at all times. Startups and their executives can sometimes forget that they’re working for a company. Keep in mind that your candidate is staking their livelihood (and their ability to pay bills) on the success of the company. If you’re using slang, dressing unprofessionally, not communicating, or not taking the process or the company seriously this can hinder your ability to recruit and hire effectively.
In order to be successful in your hiring, consider each of the rules above (and these ideas about proper classification of employees). Companies that adhere to these guidelines end up succeeding and creating replicable processes that permeate throughout their organization.
As for the startups that don’t follow these rules. Take a guess what they look like.