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How Startups Can Hire the Smart Way

  • Startups are usually tiny operations in their earliest days. They are made up of a few close associates who do most of the work and break their backs trying to turn their startup into a company with a tiny chance of survival. If everything goes well, the time comes when the startup enters the next phase and starts growing.

    In the vast majority of cases, this will involve hiring new people and, as anyone who has ever been involved in the startup ecosystem (in any capacity) will tell you, startups generally don't do hiring spectacularly. Considering startups' super slim margins of error and the fact that the wrong hires can wreak havoc, it becomes obvious that this is a huge problem.

    The good news is that there are ways in which startup founders can make sure that they are hiring the smart way.

    Always Go Structured

    Large corporations all have very structured hiring processes and while much of it has to do with the fact they employ huge numbers of people every month, this also allows them to ensure a process that will be as objective as possible. On top of this, when you have a structured hiring process, you can track your success rate and identify problems more easily. This, in turn, allows you to make adjustments should the need arise.

    While we are on the subject of structured hiring process, we should also mention that this kind of hiring also saves time. When you have defined phases and documents already in place, it is easier to go through numerous candidates, instead of hiring someone because you wasted three days interviewing three people.

    Don't Be Afraid to Go Global

    Many startups operate in such a way that it doesn't matter where their employees work from. For example, a startup that is based in Germany can easily hire a developer from Australia and vice versa. An Argentinian startup can hire an entire team of Russian testers and not skip a beat.

    The main reason for going global is a very simple one – you increase your chances of finding the perfect hire. Regardless of where you live, the local talent will be limited and who is to say that you will not be able to find someone perfect for your startup a thousand miles away?

    Of course, there might be certain organizational problems and you might get into the whole immigration law thing if you wish to bring them to the office, but top talent is worth it. Just look at the problems Australian startups are finding themselves in because their government abolished Visa 457 and made it complicated for them to invite foreign employees over.

    Don't Emphasize the Cultural Fit

    The cultural fit is a concept that has grown in importance in the last two decades or so, denoting the way in which a potential hire is expected to fit in with the company culture. Considering that startups often feature very distinct cultures, you would think that the cultural fit should be high on the list of traits you would look for when hiring.

    In reality, nothing could be more hazardous for your company than hiring someone just because they seem cool and because you share world views with them.

    First of all, hiring for cultural fit tends to overlook more important factors such as experience, skills and interpersonal traits. Moreover, hiring for cultural fit can cause your startup to become a clique where anyone different would feel like an outsider. This can also lead to a lack of inventiveness since everyone will agree with everyone on everything. Finally, such an overly homogenous culture can lead to certain developments that can be extremely negative, like in the much-publicized case of Uber.

    Make Sure to Onboard

    Most startup owners have a feeling that there is no way they can afford to onboard new employees. They see this process as something that is reserved for large corporations that have teams of HR people roaming their corridors.

    And while startup onboarding process will definitely be simpler and quicker, it still has to exist. In fact, it might be even more crucial for startups since they cannot afford to feature employees that only become productive after six months. Startups need all hands on deck all of the time and onboarding helps make this happen.

    An onboarding process will also reduce the odds of your startup's new employees leaving once they get an opportunity. In the highly competitive world of startups, employee retention can be a factor that decides which startup grows and which startup sinks.

    Don't let your startup sink.