Note: This is the first installment of the weekly column on startup HR entitled 'Startup HR 101' by M Murshed Haider of optiMA HR Solutions. Click here to find the outline piece.
You need a great team for your startup simply because the growth of your startup is extremely dependent on the employees you engage to fill each role in your company. Being a startup, it’s not easy to attract talented candidates since they might have other better options to consider.
What should you do?
Don’t worry too much! If others can get good candidates, so can you. Here are some of the TIPS that would help you while you plan to recruit.
Being a startup, it’s not easy to attract talented candidates since they might have other better options to consider.
ONE: Hire for the Mindset
Look for people who are dedicated to try and learn new things, get out of their comfort zone and work hard.
Do not hire guys who have worked exclusively at large corporations or prominent brands. Usually they do not have the right mindset to work for any startup. You can hire people who worked at smaller companies. Usually smaller companies give more responsibilities to the employees as they always have a shortage of budget to recruit the right number of employees as per the need. Employees often get more opportunity to learn and build from scratch, which is a very strong requirement for any startup. Look for people who are dedicated to try and learn new things, get out of their comfort zone and work hard.
TWO: Think today and think tomorrow as well
Keep current and future needs under consideration. You need to be aware of the current and future needs of the organization before hiring any employee. For instance, you might be looking to hire a bookkeeper, but you know that in the near future, you will need an accountant too. Therefore, the best move will be to hire someone who is the best fit for the bookkeeping job and also have the potential to be trained as accountant to meet the future needs for your startup.
THREE: Consider different sources to get the right candidate
Being a startup, you do not want to spend much money on a job advertisement. Therefore, to start with, you should always check from your surroundings. Use your personal networks, social media, LinkedIn and other sources. Also you should attend social events and circles relating to your startup industry. Spread your requirement through the community.
FOUR: Check social media presence of the potential candidate.
Checking the social media presence & activities of the candidate always gives you some insight about him/her. Blogs are often great source of information. You can also learn a lot about someone from Twitter just by reading their last 50 to 60 tweets. LinkedIn is also a good source of intelligence on people. A complete lack of a social media presence or a completely inactive one is always a red flag.
FIVE: Find people who have been with their current employer for 2 to 3 years.
It’s quite common to find people who jump from job to job. If someone has jumped too often it’s a red flag because they are likely to leave you after a short time too! So, find people who have been with their current employer for 2 to 3 years. It’s around that time frame when a lot of people start looking for a job elsewhere, or at least are ready to be approached. Someone working with a company for a few months might be too early while someone working somewhere for too long (5+ years or so) might be too late to take on a new challenge. So you’re looking for that sweet spot where people might be interested in some change.
It’s quite common to find people who jump from job to job. If someone has jumped too often it’s a red flag because they are likely to leave you after a short time too!
SIX: Ask people to demonstrate their creativity when they apply.
Creativity is a huge asset for all the employees; use it as a great filtering tool. If you ask people to do something creative with their job application and they don’t, you can scrap them immediately. Even if you do not ask for it, try to find out if the candidate did something interesting and creative.
SEVEN: Select the candidate based on the right attitude.
You should always shortlist the candidates which have relevant skills and knowledge based on the well-planned interview process. Once short listing is done, you should focus on the attitudes of each potential candidate to make your final choice. Try to find the same passion in the employee you are going to hire as you have for the business, and make sure that he/she will fit not only the job, but also your organizational culture.
Your first few employees are critical for your business. This is why it’s always better to use your own time to handle your initial recruitment instead of depending on a recruitment agency or someone else.
Your first few employees are critical for your business. This is why it’s always better to use your own time to handle your initial recruitment instead of depending on a recruitment agency or someone else. You might make some mistakes to start with. But these are part of your learning. Following the above mentioned tips will help you get closer to what you are really looking for.
Note: Thanks to Samantha Morshed for editing this piece.