Hey startups! Are you trying to build a team?
Or looking to onboard a fearless cofounder?
Or maybe you have hit the investment jackpot and trying to scale up!
Well, congratulations on the journey thus far. We know the steely grit it takes to start on your own with only dimes in your pockets and building a thrilling startup. We applaud your efforts and hope you continue to hack your way through this ruthless startupland.
Therefore, to assist you with some tools for the oncoming battle, here we are with some roads best not taken when you’re going shopping for a team for your startup. Stop these hiring sins today.
Some common startup hiring sins:
Selling the job
We’ve seen a number of startups trying hard to sell an elusive developer profile here, a marketing guru role there. What they don’t understand is employees are not driven by titles in this era but the growth opportunities they see in their future.
Moreover, they look for the best place to be, so stop selling the ‘best job for them’. Employees know the uplifting effects of working with a great team in an imaginative culture.
They need to believe in your vision and your product before jumping to your organization. This is one very common hiring sins.
Hiring a jack of all trades
Wouldn’t it be great if you could hire a developer who writes beautiful code, knows his big-data analytics, and can network like a ninja? Sadly, unicorns stop existing when you turn twelve.
Instead of looking for the grand juggler, focus on experts. Employees with specific skill-set tend to complement each other and provide room for creativity. Overlapping job profiles are often hard to measure performances and mess with the structure of hierarchy. It is your job as founder/s to handle various verticals. This is one very common hiring sins.
Startup hiring big company executives
With all due respect to their experience, background, and professionalism, top MNC execs are often not the best choice for a startup. This is one very common hiring sins. Reasons you ask?
- Salary – High-level executives are accustomed to fat paychecks and by the virtue of being a startup, you don’t have that kind of cash to throw around on one guy.
- Stability – Supposing you got a great funding and can poach any top MNC exec, do you really know if their goals align with your vision? Most of the senior developers and execs at this age are looking for stability. Pick any from the reasons – marriage, family, kids, settling down et cetera. Working for a startup may be risky for them when they already have a well-paying job.
- Cultural fit – Top execs are used to corporate environments. In many ways, it is very different from working in a startup eco-system. They are used to a different culture and mostly performing one job as opposed to the myriad range of issues that overwhelm a startup. Therefore, you cannot bet on the same level of efficiency and effectiveness when they’re working for you.
Recruiting only the best
Have you ever not wanted an A grade on your scorecard? Well, all as surely look beautiful on paper. Not so much when you’re hiring them.
Biggest players on the field come with biggest egos. And when you put all of them in the same jar, undoubtedly expect a mushroom cloud (of nuclear explosions). If you are sourcing best performers from other organizations, where they are used to the limelight, and putting them in the same room as other A-listers (who are exposed to similar fame), there is bound to be immense friction.
“In business, the only viable strategy is to recruit good people, develop them, and retain as many of the stars as possible”, says this HBR article based on an extensive study of top performing analysts and managers. This is one very common hiring sins.
All apples, no oranges
A recent groundbreaking study just established a popular belief that we are drawn to people who think like us. “Our desire for ‘like-minded others’ is hard-wired”, says the study.
Well, as conforming as it may appear, this is actually a counter-intuitive belief for startup hiring sins. One of the most elementary mistakes that creep up when you’re not paying attention is hiring people who remind you of yourself. Sharing a common belief and outlook works great in personal relationships but, sadly, not very much in business and you should avoid these hiring sins.
What happens when your taste buds crave something sour-sweet and all you have are apples? Easy, you go out shopping for oranges. But what happens when you hire people with similar-thinking, homogeneous skills, and identical problem solving approaches? This is one very common hiring sins.
Predictably, you have a loss of diversity and not enough out-of-the-box thinking to sustain your startup for a long time. Like-minded employees might totally overlook to include a feature in a product or service that might be servicing your untargeted demographic. Therefore, to bring innovation it is imperative to have a diverse set of employees with different skills and thinking capabilities. Sometimes, it’s delightful to see what a little friction between ideas can produce, it is one of the great thrills of working in a startup.
We suggest you pay attention to these hiring sins and subtle mistakes, which tiptoe on many unwitting founders. Road to building a great company is paved with failures and setbacks. Make sure you make your own mistakes and not copy others. Happy hiring!
Do share in comments what other mistakes have you committed and would like to share with the startup community.