By : Aoife Geary
Employees are the greatest asset a company has, but for startups, they’re also the most volatile. When you’re building out your team in the early stages, every single hire is a crucial one with the power to massively impact your business.
In an environment where one hire can literally make or break your success, this is what not to do in the pursuit of that all-important candidate. So here are 6 mistakes all startups should avoid to ensure success.
1. Hiring your friends
This should be obvious but hiring a friend because they’re your friend is stupid and you shouldn’t do it. Even if they’re your friend and exceptional at their job, it still doesn’t make them a fit for your company and/or a viable business partner. Existing dynamics make it impossible to work together with a clean slate and more often than not, you end up damaging both your business and your friendship.
2. Hiring yourself
It’s human nature to be drawn to candidates who look like ourselves but sometimes the most valuable thing a new hire can offer you is a different perspective. Try to find the balance between hiring a cultural fit and a sparring partner. At this crucial stage of expansion, it’s important to seek out team members who will drive your business forward in ways that you can’t.
3. Trying to fill roles too quickly
Hiring in a hurry is a short-sighted solution to a long-term problem. The urgency that comes with rapid expansion often leads to dangerous compromises on the suitability or quality of a candidate. Each new employee plays such a crucial role in developing the company culture and brand, that you can’t afford to make rash decisions for the sake of relieving your workload.
4. Looking for all-rounders
The elusive coder/marketer/content writer/sales whizz doesn’t and shouldn’t exist. While it’s nice to have someone who can wear multiple hats if needs be, hiring them because you think they can wear multiple hats is a mistake.
For one, you end up with someone who is average at a lot of things but not amazing at anything. Aside from that, you have the obvious problem of making them obsolete as the team grows and you need specialists to accelerate your growth.
Instead, invest your resources in a candidate who is the best in the world at what they do and can add serious value in a specific area.
5. Being unclear about your mission
Your mission and values as a business are core to everything you do and influence your entire operation from product developments to partnership acquisition. If you don’t communicate your mission to new starters effectively, you face a world of pain when it comes to making important decisions about the direction of the business. On the other hand, if you are clear and uncompromising about your values, you end up with a cohesive team that are all working towards the same goal.
6. Hiring a startup virgin
You can describe startup culture a million times over but until someone actually experiences it for themselves, they won’t fully understand what’s expected. Hiring someone with an impressive corporate background might look great to your investors but it can cause serious problems as the business grows and doesn’t meet their expectations. You need people who aren’t tied to process and rigid structures and who are willing to get their hands dirty to get projects over the line.