Nobody knows better than you that startups aren’t easy. You’re driven by an idea, by desire, by the potential of it all. It’s just that you haven’t got much money and you need help, an extra pair of hands to push your dream along. But there’s an art to hiring people for startups. It requires totally different selection criteria to an established business.
You need to hire not just the right person but the perfect person, the person who gets the idea. Then you need to keep them. The startup circuit can be a bit like the cocktail hour circuit – continual hopping from one place to another. This you need to avoid. Loosing a worker is expensive and time consuming.
I suggest some fresh ideas on hiring and keeping the best possible candidates for your startup.
Search on Personality Rather than MBAs
There’s nothing wrong with MBAs per se. But they teach you to think in terms of contingencies and strategies and balance sheets and these are not standard startup mindsets.
You’re a risk taker. No really, you are. You could be working in conveyancing in local government. Stable, solid, dull. Instead you’re investing your all in your idea – money, effort, time, your heart and soul. Classic risk taking behaviour. Bravo.
You have passion. The potential of your idea keeps you awake at night. Your candidate’s eyes should light up with excitement when you tell them what you are doing. Possibly you don’t want someone who offers to analyse your financial projections and pales when you tell them you don’t have any.
The hours you work are long and the pay is lousy. You could issue options in lieu but right now they aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. You’re fuelled by hope, a dream, and a prodigious work ethic. You need somebody prepared to put the work in.
Find your perfect match and you’re halfway there.
Nurture your Workers
Once you have a team working on your startup, you need to look after them like your family. Possibly better as you’ll spend more time with them than your actual family.
If you’ve taken care selecting your workers they’ll be as invested as you in your startup.
You’re relying on their passion, love of risks, enthusiasm and goodwill as much as their formal skill sets. It’s your job to make sure none of these intangible factors wane.
Being inclusive, fair, upfront, and amenable to feedback are practices that will build goodwill amongst your workers.
Assuming your startup has next to no money (and money is a poor long term workplace motivator anyway) you are relying on workers who find their reward in job satisfaction and the same possibilities as you – that your startup idea might flourish and take off.
Your workers are the key to your idea taking off. Choosing and keeping the right workers is critical to your startup’s long term success.