The Comprehensive Startup Hiring Guide

Sep 13, 2019 · 4 min read
Image from Unsplash

As your startup begins to grow, every new hire changes the company’s DNA, so it becomes increasingly important to take a strategic, systematic approach to hire.

5 Things To Look For In Prospective Hires

1. Attitude vs. Skills

The best practice is to determine technical qualifications in the first round(s) of the interview process and then focus on the attitude/emotional skills of a prospective employee.

Attitudes to Look For:

  1. Honesty
  2. Integrity
  3. Humility
  4. Perseverance
  5. Initiative

Interview Questions to Ask:

  1. Can you describe a past situation at work that led you to grow as a person?
  2. Tell me about a time when it was necessary to admit to others that you had made a mistake. How did you handle that?
  3. How would you describe the perfect work environment for you?
  4. Can you describe a situation where you didn’t agree with a boss or supervisor, and explain how you approached the issue?
  5. How do you react when asked to do something beyond your capabilities?

2. Potential vs. Experience

Finding the ‘right’ mix of potential vs. experience will depend on many things: the role you’re recruiting for, company culture, the capabilities of your existing team, and your long-term growth plans for the startup. Remember to keep in mind that as your startup grows and develops, these will also change each time you make a new hire.

3. Culture Fit

Image from Unsplash

It is important not to confuse ‘hiring for culture fit’ for ‘hiring someone just like you.’ Doing this contributes to a lack of diversity within your startup team, and you would be missing out on the creativity, experience, and knowledge of more diverse applicants.

4. Soft Skills

5. Generalists vs. Specialists

For your earliest employees, you may be better off selecting employees who are generalists, so you can use their wide skillset to help out with different areas of the business. However, as your startup grows, you will need employees with specific skills. It has become increasingly more common for startups to look for ‘T-shaped’ employees as their earliest employees.

Image from Cobloom

Your Perfect Candidate Will Change Overtime

You must also consider your company culture for your first hires. They will be directly responsible for passing on your company values to your next rounds of hires.

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