THE BLOG

When Hiring, What Problems Should I Avoid?

02/17/2015 02:51 pm ET | Updated Apr 17, 2015

Hiring can be one of the hardest problems that every business has to deal with. Recently I reached out to eight different startup founders from Startup Grind chapters across the World that have hired several people in the past 6 months.

Here is what they said:

Hire for passion.

Talented people that aren't passionate about what you are trying to accomplish will not contribute up to their level of talent. They are also not as loyal. Talent without passion is really a hired gun that can be lured away fairly easily. Hire the most talented people you can find that are committed to what you are trying to accomplish.

Ryan Frederick -- AWH

Hiring is a Process

When it comes to hiring, I like to consider two things: A) Tasks- - The skill-set required to do the job, B) People -- The type of person that myself and my team would enjoy working with that can do the job.

Common problems, in my experience, are because hiring managers put too much weight on one and not the other.

My process is simple:

  • I start by explaining who I am, what I do and I ask candidates to fill a lengthy application that tests their professional skill-set (and patience). Most questions are domain-specific, and 90 percent of my candidates leads don't get past that step.
  • Out of the remaining 10 percent, I provide them with an application that has questions irrelevant to the job. It's meant to give me a window to look at their passions, their dreams, their goals and overall how they think and do problem solving. I give them the freedom to think outside the box and forget that they are applying for a job. 90 percent of the remaining candidates fail due to personality incompatibility.
  • The remaining few are eligible for a face to face or Skype interview. This is usually a pleasant experience whether the person gets hired or not.
  • In one instance, I did have an overseas candidate breastfeed her child during a video interview, but that's another story. So I guess no process is flawless.

    -- Ash Metry -- TWBN

    Hire Based on Future Needs, Not Just Current Needs

    When hiring, it's easy to hire based on 'what we need now,' but you really need to look at 'what we'll need in the future.' For example, when hiring a sales person, is that person capable of building a sales team? Are they capable of crafting new pitches for new customer sets?

    -- Peter Crysdale -- StrategyHack

    Let The Team Make The Final Decision

    When I have hired over the years, I have found it best to avoid doing all the hiring yourself. You should make the team that's going to be working with the new hire a large part of the hiring process, as they are the ones that are going to be working with this individual on a daily basis. This has made my team feel special and hire some of the best employees we've ever worked with.

    -- Peter Daisyme -- Hostt

    Hire for Team Over Experience

    Do not hire people solely based on their experience or education. It is important that your team members complement one another with their skills and areas of expertise. Everyone that you hire should make your job easier, not more difficult. Focus on hiring people that can get things done without micromanaging and will not back down in the eye of a storm. Your company's best moments often follow the most trying times. My best advice on hiring comes from Patagonia's founder, Yvon Chouinard, who says, "Don't hire anyone who you wouldn't spend months with alone in a tent on the side of a mountain." Startups and the work required to execute effectively are difficult, only hire the people that are truly ready for battle. 

    -- Joe Famalette -- OneMusicPortal

    Hire Based on Where The Company is At

    A new hire isn't just entering a role at your company, but also a time frame. When hiring for a startup before product-market fit, hiring an experienced corporate strategist will give you a team member who might be dissatisfied with the chaos of the organization. They'll end up creating plans that go forever unexecuted or waiting to be asked to close sales deals you hired them to bring in. Similarly, as your startup scales, the generalists that comprise early-stage startups will become increasingly less useful in key positions unless you've been training them from the lean days. It's a crushing lesson to learn personally. 

    -- Michael Gasiorek -- ThriveTribe

    Move Fast

    Single most important thing to avoid is hiring second-best people because you feel the need to move fast. I would advise to create a company culture that is attractive to work in for exceptional talent. I believe you can do this partially by empowering and trusting people to do well in their job and second by leading by example in terms of the company value application and work ethics. 

    -- Carel van Apeldoorn -- Startups Guangzhou

     Hire People That Move the Needle

    In my personal point of view you should be looking for "pathfinders" that means those who embrace challenges but care about get things done in the right way, taking care of all corporate matter as an owner not an employee. Look for those who challenge you, who make you feel uncomfortable and want to sign the masterpiece just beside you than you will have to master the arts of people's engagement directing them to add value to stakeholders without creating any ethical liabilities.

    -- Rodrigo de Alvarenga -- HAG Consulting