How to Hire the Right People for Your Startup

[This article was written by Dawn Castell.]

When you’re first starting a business, it can feel like you’re standing on shaky ground–as if even the smallest movement will cause everything to come crumbling down. Although this isn’t necessarily true, there is a fraction of truth in the thought. A newer business with fewer resources is harder to keep above water than a large corporation with hundreds and thousands of partners, resources, and employees. But, as long are you’re hiring the right kinds of people and giving the right duties to fulfill, your business should thrive. Here’s how you can ensure that the people you’re hiring are right for your startup company.

1. Hold an In-Person Interview

Lately, phone interviews and Facetime interviews are becoming more and more popular. It’s easier and takes less time and resources for both parties involved. The problem is you don’t actually get to meet the person before they’re hired. People can act drastically different from behind a screen. It’s easier for them to remember their prepped answers to questions and they feel less pressure. So, instead, conduct in-person interviews. When you’re hiring the right person, you want to see how they act under pressure. You want to see whether they’re perfectly comfortable or whether they’re shaking and nervous. These things are telling of their characters.

If the person that you’re interviewing is out of town while you’re taking applications, you have two options. You can wait to interview them when they get back, or you can find a different applicant who is present in the area. When you’re a larger company, you have more room to work and you can consider hiring people over the phone and even having them work remotely. Small companies, however, might want to take more care over who they’re welcoming to the business.

2. Discuss Their Level of Education

Depending on the job that you’re hiring for, you’ll need to know the applicant’s level of education. There are a few things that you should keep in mind when you’re determining the level of education that the person has. First of all, do they act educated? You don’t want to hire a person who has a lot of book knowledge and very little social grace. The person should have transferred the things that they have learned from their education to their social life. You should also keep in mind that a masters program online is not that much different than a person getting a degree from a physical college. They still went through a rigorous process to get the degree and will have the same amount of schooling and level of knowledge.

3. Include Others in the Interview

When you’re conducting an interview for a position, there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a few people who watch and listen to the interview. Include managers who have already been hired and other consulting figures from the business to help you make your decision. You want to make sure that everyone agrees that you’re about to hire someone who actually will mesh with the company.

Hiring someone is a lot more than credentials. You also want to make sure that the person gets along with the people they will be working with. Invite a few veteran employees to participate and get to know the potential new employee. Make sure that everyone gets along and that attitudes and personalities will work well with one another.

4. Don’t Ask “Fluff” Questions

During the interview, it might be tempting to ask a few “fluff” questions. These types of questions are similar to: “If you were a fish what type of fish would you be?” These questions don’t actually give you any information on the person. They might just answer with the first thing that comes to mind and then rationalize it in a way that makes it seem clever. Ask solid questions instead like, “Why would you be a good fit for this company?” Ask things that the interviewee can answer honestly.

When you’re hiring people to work with your company, it’s alright to be picky. Don’t hire the first person who comes to the interview and instead, take your time.

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