Startup Hiring: 10 Tips for Building the Epic Dream Team

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Great ideas have a much better chance of succeeding when they are backed by a team of professionals who are talented and motivated. Even if the idea is nothing short of genius, consumers will not respond well to a poorly put together idea that is quickly slapped on a landing page and then shared on social media a few times. When you start your own business, early on you will need to begin building your team. This should be an exiting chapter in the life of your business but it also can be a trying time full of frustration and confusion. It is not an easy process to choose the right people for your new business but by following these ten tips, the process will be easier.

Identify the Needs of Your Business and Yourself

Before you start the hunt for your potential team members, you first need to evaluate the needs of your new startup. This can be done by creating a long term plan that specifies what actions you need to take in order to reach your goals. Once this is done, you will see what skills you will need to bring on board in order to meet your business’s goals.

You will also have to understand yourself in terms of your strengths and weaknesses. It is so important to be honest with yourself when thinking of your skill set as you will need to hire people who are experts in those areas in which you don’t shine. For instance, if you excel at sales and marketing but are not very good at putting your thoughts on paper, you should focus on hiring a content curator who has the experience necessary to tell your story in a compelling way. This is a crucial step as you need to create a balanced team that can manage all the needs of your business. Therefore, you should take your time to ensure you’ve identified all the key skills you need to help your business grow and succeed.

Have a Clear Understanding of What Type of the Work Culture You Want to Implement

It is essential that you are clear about the type of work culture you wish to bring into your new business before you hire staff. When you know what type of work culture you wish to implement, you will be able to more easily find the right people you need who share your same core values and work ethics. It’s important that the key people you hire are as passionate and committed as yourself. If you fail to bring in people who share your values, you will inevitably run into problems with motivation and goal setting & attainment. Of course, every person you bring on board should be committed to working hard while keeping your main goal in mind which is to expand your business slowly as you reach each of your goals.

Don’t Go Overboard When Hiring

A mistake many early startups make is to hire too many people in the early stages instead of gradually building a strong team. Yes, you are excited and you have great expectations for your business, but there is no reason to rush when looking for team members. In fact, it is absolutely essential that you focus on only hiring the people you need at the time, otherwise you will be creating a big mess that will make moving forward difficult. In the beginning, only hire those people who have the skills you are lacking to move your idea to the next level. Then once your business grows and stabilizes, you can bring on new team members to fill the voids. Remember that building a business takes time and that there will always be great candidates available when you’re ready and able to take on new team members.

Don’t Dismiss the Thought of Hiring Remote Team Members

Many startup founders are reluctant to hire remote staff as they assume people working remotely are less productive and poor communicators. Actually, there are some great reasons for hiring remotely with the main one being you can find some of the most talented people this way. Of course, when interviewing these people, you should look for those who are self-disciplined, responsible and willing to communicate regularly with you. Some of the most successful businesses regularly outsource much of their work so this point cannot be emphasized enough.

Finding qualified, interested candidates located remotely can be done by joining online communities that are relevant to your industry. For instance, if you are in need of a web designer, look for web design forums or community discussion groups where web designers hang out online. Don’t forget to tap into the power of LinkedIn as well as you can find some great people there who are actually looking for opportunities.

Get Busy Networking

One of the best ways to find great people to hire is to get out there and mingle! Attend industry conferences and events where like-minded professionals gather and don’t be shy about sharing your idea and business plan with the people you run into. When you are more than willing to speak about your new business, the more likely it is that you’ll receive some great tips and help from experts. Don’t be afraid that someone will rob you of your idea as that is very unlikely to happen. Instead, show your enthusiasm for your idea and let others know you are looking for great people to join your team. By being an active networker, you stand a good chance of obtaining a referral or two or even better, you may come into direct contact with someone who ticks all the boxes so the speak for a role you need to fill.

Choose Interview Questions Carefully to Ensure a “Good Fit”

Once you’ve found a promising candidate to fill a role, you need to know whether or not that person will in fact, bring some value to the team you are building. You can find out by choosing the questions you ask with care. Ask what type of working environment the person prefers and thrives the best in. You should also prepare a few scenario-type questions that will help you see how the person views their role within a team and how well they respond to challenges and conflicts. If possible, invite potential candidates to meet your team informally as it is a great way to see how they will all get along. It’s crucial that your team members all share the same working values and work ethic so don’t be afraid to ask key questions that will help you figure out if someone is right for your team or not.

Be Wary of the Egomaniac

Building a business is hard work and it is done right through teamwork, cooperation and open communication. When speaking to potential team members, be wary of anyone with a huge ego who is all about themselves. While it is perfectly fine and natural for someone to toot their own horn so to speak when discussing their accomplishments and skills, it’s another thing to boast about being the best at everything one does. Go with your gut instinct here and listen to your heart. You don’t want to hire someone who will put themselves on a pedestal as that’s a sure-fire recipe for workplace disaster. Nothing stinks more than having to work alongside a know-it-all or with someone who is very opinionated and a poor listener. Big egos have no place in the startup environment as these types of people hinder creativity and productivity.

Focus on Finding Doers As Opposed to People with Impressive Titles

Inevitably, during your search for team members, you are going to run across some interested candidates with impressive job titles. Instead of being won over by those with amazing titles like managers and engineers, look for candidates who are resourceful. In other words, you need people who show some aggressiveness for seeking out solutions to problems so they can get things done. It’s much more important that each member of your team is a go-getter rather than just someone who carries an impressive title they were given at a previous job. Everybody on your team needs to deliver and they need to do so on an on-going basis. Don’t be afraid to set some high expectations regarding what you expect from the people you choose to join you.

Offer Some Attractive Perks

A great way to attract fun, hardworking people to your startup is to offer some unique perks. Spending money on things to attract new hires and to keep employees happy is a worthy investment to make but it doesn’t have to bust your budget. Some of the more standard perks you can consider offering includes things like free snacks and coffee for fuel or some “swag” like company t-shirts which by the way will help get your business’s name out there. Making your workspace dog-friendly is another perk many people appreciate as is offering a gaming area where your workers can spend their break time playing pool or ping pong.

If your startup culture is enjoyable your team members will feel like real people instead of just cogs in the typical work wheel wherein they will enjoy a more pleasant working environment. Of course, your budget will determine what perks you’ll be able to offer so think about what types of affordable things you’d like to be offered if you were to join a startup and then go from there.

Formalize Your Systems and Protocols and Inform Everyone of Them

Even if you plan on creating a very laid-back working atmosphere where jeans and sneakers are the standard attire, you need to create systems and protocols for your team to adhere to and follow. Everyone should know who is responsible for what and who to contact with project glitches or updates. When you have good systems in place and protocols to follow that everyone is aware of, your business will run smoothly and efficiently. It’s just as important that the entire team knows how your business works from top to bottom. This helps ensure everyone knows the importance of the role they play. Plus, when your team members understand how your business works, they will be aware that any failure to produce on their part will hinder the flow of production.

When interviewing people, let them know about the systems and protocols you have in place that you expect each team member to follow. This way, everyone you bring on board will be aware of how things work and will know that they will be held accountable for failing to produce results.