How do the hiring processes for small businesses and startups differ from those of bigger firms?
I've been hired by a lot of large firms in my life to the point where I'm familiar with hiring processes, but now that I'm building a team for my new startup, I don't know where to start. What are the major differences between hiring for a firm vs a startup?
Hi Jen, Some of the factors I always look for in people to work in a start up are:
Tolerance for chaos (issues are never well defined and people can't wait for all of the answers to take action)
Adaptability (being able to pinch hit on immediate needs)
Quick critical thinking skills (recognize new problems that you haven't faced before)
Hope this helps you.
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I recommend to my small businesses to use temporaries or contractors before plunging into "employer". After 15 FTE's in Illinois you have a lot of responsibilities. It is critical to start off with the best employees and to ensure that it is better to work with them first before deciding to employ them. Another issue that small businesses create is hiring relatives. This can often be destructive not only to business but to family relationships. Hope this helps...
Another option available to a small business is to work with "virtual businesses". There are thousands and thousands of former employees who have started small businesses from their homes and who provide services using the internet. These entrepreneurs can provide small businesses with "as needed" services that cover a myriad of needs including in sales, marketing & advertising, web design, app development, writing, administration, accounting, taxes, finance & insurance, real estate, travel and research. And these are only a few - if you "google" the service you need, chances are you will find it. Most virtual businesses work as independent contractors - they are business owners, not employees. You pay an invoice, not a paycheck.
I have worked for and hired for both big corporations as well as small start-ups. The process itself is the same regardless of where you are being hired, but what you look for may be very different. While there are some similarities, the biggest differences I found to be:
- Passion: Not that employees at big companies cannot have passion, but the more passionate they are for the product or service with a small company, the bigger the impact it will have.
- Ability to thrive under uncertainty: Big companies are pretty stable, or at least provide a stable environment. Startup's come with the "what ifs." Employees at a start-up need to be OK with the "what-if's" or otherwise the lack of certainty in their role can and will hinder their development and the development of your business. Risk takers work well in small businesses.
- Critical thinking: Both require you to think on your feet but big companies are more likely to be structured, think on your feet but with the tools and processes they provide. With small business, your agility makes the difference in acting right on time or too late.
- Willingness to go above and beyond the scope of their hired position.
Overall, hiring for a big business or a small start-up is the same and many of the questions are the same too. The process itself does not vary but the personalities and what they bring to the table can be quite different.
And, as tempting as it might be, it is best not to hire your family or close friends. You'll risk your personal relationships for professional gain and in the short run it may seem like a good idea but in the long run it can lead to issues.
Good luck with your start-up!
Irrespective of the size of the firm the hiring process should ideally remain the same- due diligence should be carried out and due processes followed for every hire.This is because one is not investing in hires, we are investing in people and their long term retention.The quality of hire will, ultimately depend on the time and effort taken over each candidate.
This is especially true of a start up where the core team should stay and deliver long term.
AS the proprietor this will also give an indication to your team about the culture you wish to build in the organizati
Bigger firms can mange by shuffling the freshers and experienced, were small firms can't do that when getting a project.
Small firms need to recruit experienced rather than freshers.
In addition to having the skills to do the job, I think fit, style and personality play a bigger role in smaller companies. Also, the need to be versatile (and have the willingness and attitude to try) is important. Too much of a jack-of-all-trades might not be helpful, but a little of that can be good and necessary.
I’m a new entrepreneur myself, and former corporate recruiter, and these are the factors we will consider when getting to the point of hiring.
Plain and simple - nothing!
Be as structured, thorough, patient, process driven and formal from start to finish - ensuring an organization structure is defined for short and long term growth, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, job descriptions support those roles, researching and qualifying, as well as interviewing is just as critical (even more so since it is now your money)...etc...Yes, you hope to be more nimble in executing the process, but the prep and due diligence is even more critical as any time you invest in a new hire position, impacts your bottom line - not someone else's.
First and foremost, it is basically your money you are spending! There are some excellent posts in response to your question, especially those of Bernadette Boas and Michelle Brammer. Personally, I have only been involved in six start-ups over three years. One of these crashed miserably. Founders need to be able to swallow some personal pride and realise that hiring a professional recruiter to assist in the hiring process is not a waste of their money. The time they save actually covers the cost and seriously reduces the risk of a poor appointment. They also need to realise they are in competition with established businesses for talent but are not offering the same job security. They want people that can succeed anywhere, not those who just want a position. So you should have your product, your business structure, vision, business development plans all on the table for scrutiny. They are your recruiting tools. And be prepared to answer the "financial" question and I mean in respect to the security your business. You are asking someone to build a career with you rather than in the established scene. Therefore, for the "right candidate" realise you are starting at a disadvantage. Plan your interview presentation as if you were applying for the position yourself. You will find, as a Founder, it brings out questions you may have overlooked answering for your start-up.
There is two basic difference for hiring for started and established business houses..
Established Business houses run of establish policies and norms.. so you need the staff enough experienced to understand those policies and norms and get accommodated and function accordingly.
Whereas, the new business functions on Ideas and exploration of new avenues.. hence you need a team that is fresh and enthusiastic and follow the ideas of the Team Leader. You should have two approach, Team Leader and Team members. Team Leaders should be a person of Ideas, whereas, team members should be fresh and have inspiration to learn and explore.
I find it interesting on here that few people post anything about their business. I look at your profile Jen and I know you left the corporate world but I know nothing about your business.
I bring that because if its retail, the suggestion of contractors does not work but for IT it may be perfect. I am guessing we are closer to the later so let me agree with the "nothing is different" answer and encourage you be comfortable in the skills you already have.
This is a very interesting question. There is no difference in the hiring process. I will look for
1) Attitude and adaptability.
3) Why the person want to leave the current job?
For startups you will want people who are acquainted with more than one task. Look for former managers, business owners, entrepreneurs who are on their way out of a market, and don't bother interviewing. Look only at performance, use trial periods, and incentive based initiatives to drive their efforts.
Large corporations have established systems and processes- they also have a brand backing which makes selling or operations somewhat easy. In large corporations, compliance with the systems/processes is one of the important criteria. In start up, I would like to look at people who are driven by ambition, learning, taking larger responsibilities and growth. Another big attribute would be customer service- every new account/prospect need to be treated with utmost care.
From the process perspective, I would also need to think about what to communicate and how to create a compelling excitement to join my start up company.
Trust this helps.
Wishing you the best and success!