There’s no “I” in “team”, but there are a few in “hiring mistake.”
Choosing the right hires for your startup is crucial to building a business. And while the importance of hiring the right people can’t be downplayed for any company, there are more challenges for startups, due to resourcing, time-constraints, and salary caps.
So to help set fellow startups up for success, we've detailed eight hiring tips that have helped improve our own practices.
1. Design a hiring process
You must develop a hiring process that involves your team, and that gives candidates the opportunity to evaluate you as well.
More startups are willing to share their hiring journey now more than ever. Do some research and take the time to learn from those companies hiring failures and successes, so you can design a strong hiring process early on.
2. Pay attention to email communication
Take note of how well candidates express themselves in emails and how long it takes them to respond. This not only indicates how interested they are in the position, but it also indicates their overall communication style.
Grammar and spelling mistakes can help you remove a candidate quickly, plus it is valuable to know if their communication style is aligned with your company.
3. Get your team involved
It is critical to involve multiple people in the decision-making process, from screening candidates and conducting interviews to being involved in post-interview decisions and conversations. Specifically, try to get employees involved in the process, with multiple people taking part in the same interview.
Involving your team will help you infuse your startup’s culture into the hiring experience. People will often make large trade-offs to be part of a work environment that they feel they will enjoy.
4. Always check references
This may seem obvious but get in touch with a candidate’s previous supervisors and colleagues. All candidates provide references that are likely to sing their praises, but it’s still important to take the time and be thorough at this point in the process.
Do your best to ask tough questions, and avoid asking ones that lead. Listen for nonverbal cues, such as their tone or hesitation in their answers — these can be more telling than what they’re actually saying.
5. Don’t pick the best of a bad bunch
If you have interviewed multiple candidates and aren’t satisfied, don’t feel like you need to hire anyone. Hiring takes time and making a decision based on how many people you’ve interviewed will only hurt your company and the person you hire.
If you're not satisfied after interviewing a few candidates, review your job description and make sure that you have identified all job expectations.
For example, adding one or two more experience bullets has the potential to turn a bad hiring pool into a good one.
6. Be upfront with leap-of-faith candidates
There may be some candidates who aren’t a perfect fit, but you decide to take a leap of faith anyway — maybe they need a little more experience or need to develop a certain skill. In this case, once you decide to make them an offer, be as candid as possible about areas in which you would like to see them develop.
It sets expectations from the beginning and gives candidates the opportunity to step up to the challenge.
7. Share both good and bad news with the candidates
It's important to follow up with every candidate, whether you're delivering good news or bad news. And the faster you do it the better. Nobody likes to wait around wondering if they should be getting ready for celebration or consolation.
8. Document everything
The candidate’s background, where and how you found them, what stage of the process they made it to, their strengths, their weaknesses, and any other relevant information. While a person may not be a fit for the current role at the current time, there could always be future opportunities as your startup scales. Getting into a habit of documenting everything will also keep the process organized and efficient.
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