When hiring for my startup: should I prioritize relevant non-startup experience, or general creativity and critical thinking?
Right now, I am interviewing potential hires for my startup. Since my company is young, we could definitely use some fresh ideas and sharp minds to help grow our business. However, it would also be great to hire one or more individuals with industry-specific experience. Would it be a good idea to hire some employees for their expertise and some for their general creativity/skills, or should I just pursue those with the "total package"?
After working as a recruiter, I can actually say that there are good arguments for each side.
Depending on your vertical, you may be in an area where change is constant, and a seasoned tradesman may be more difficult to break in since they'll be set in their ways, while someone fresh from education, green to the workforce would be able to give you a moldable personality and will be eager to please.
That being said, having a person straight from college may be a drawback in some areas because by the time some material makes it into a classroom, it is outdated and has been replaced (See most of the IT or online marketing world).
I love the idea of a person being passionate about what they're doing and wanting to make their name. It may be more expensive at first for the company to train and hire a newer person, but I believe you'll recover your costs in the long run. As for the veterans of the workforce, don't overlook their experience and set ways for an unwillingness to cooperate. What may be day-in-day-out to them may be exactly the revolution and new insight your company needs, especially in a startup where stability is often lacking.
My best advice is to start with an allstar that can hit the ground running. Cash flow is king. Srategically add employees with very measured and strategically planned skill sets as you grow.
I believe hire people who are passionate about there work.After that other things will follow.You need people who will believe in your vision and help your company to grow.
Best of luck for your endeavour !
Simplifying Business. Together.
Look for problem solvers; skills can be learned. You need people willing to toss out an idea that is not working and find an alternate solution. Don't hire people that will only tell you 'yes'. They need to be able to work well in a collaborative environment.
This is a harder question to answer than you would think. Obviously it's preferable if you see a candidate with both, but I think for a startup co, having people who are dynamic and can handle learning various different areas of expertise very quickly are ideal. Experience is very valuable, but in some ways less so at a startup, which is about vision and awareness of where the company is headed. Needs aren't clean, or black and white, and having critical thinkers to master the playbook on these needs is essential.
As a start-up, my recommendation is to demonstrate your own creativity and resilience through the hiring process. Seek those candidates who have the temperament and the relentless sticktuitiveness to power through any challenges that come your way. You may find this in the more seasoned as well as in the newer in career...don't let age bias you! Be clear about the core capabilities you need to grow your business...you can always draw in additional talent on an as needed basis, e.g,. Masters degree co-ops to undergrad interns to retiree temps. May success find you!
Yes but, you might miss that special person who shines under fire.Check Facebook for young minds as well as social media participants who have that instant "social-ability". One of my favourite questions is always" whats the toughest thing you have ever had to do"? Industry specific experience might be a must but the best and most creative mind came from the person I asked that question to.Personalty and EQ tests I would also consider
You should have a clear picture of the task/s (needs to be filled), and have job descriptions prepared.
Do you want newswomen who can fly a plane if you only own a ship?
Bryan, as much as it may be tempting to attempt to find the proverbial one-woman /man band, they rarely exist and can be expensive. I think it is particularly helpful for a start-up to identify needed skill sets and then go hire the best team composition for that skill. You want a team of people, not just one individual who can bring your start-up to the next level. The situation you describe may call for some fresh thinking, as you describe it. That probably means that someone on your initial team is not living up to your expectation. What was the skill set you needed from that individual? Get rid of that person as quickly as you can and replace him/her with new blood. Alternatively, you could reappraise existing skill sets and prioritize hires with the missing one. You should havemost of your eager team capable of fresh ideas, not just a single individual. Perhaps, industry experience, or lack thereof is not the reason for your temporary slow start - maybe the business concept/proposition needs tweaking. Talk to your customers? Find out what your shortfalls are, also identify a possible advisory board, if you don't have one already and make use of that board! Cheers, Renate
(see also wwwDotRenateArtDotcom ).
My only added value is to take your time in hiring. As you strategically add to your team, it will become clear what complementary skills, personalities and talents you will need to fill in the gaps.
One item that you, as the owner, need to be very clear in is describing your ideal working environment and team. Once you can clearly visualize the personalities, skills, talents and passions that really want - the right people will start to appear. Don't wait to "know it when you see it". You job is to "know it so you can recognize it".
Great question. Hiring employees who are very intelligent, creative, and have expertise in the area of your startup would be great. However, highly intelligent employees who can learn new things quickly and comprehend the overall concept of your business and who can demonstrate the ability to solve some real company issues should not be overlooked. Ask your job candidates to submit a video resume and a writing sample. Please contact me and I'll show you how to utilize the video resume and writing sample in order to hire the most qualified and emotionally intelligent people.
This is a very complex question and I would state that even professional recruiters generally have no clue what the answer is, as most do not know anything about start-ups. A successful serial entrepreneur is your best resource on this. I ran The CEO Boot Camp for entrepreneurs for many years and now sell it in video form at my web sites and Amazon.com.
The answer has many dimensions that are not clear here and offering an answer without these is prescription without diagnosis = malpractice.
What is your personal experience and value? What is your industry? What is your proposed USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that thing you will be the best in the world at? What does the org chart look like today and what do you expect it to look like in a year? What are your margins, growth rate and 20 other things that will matter. Where is the main risk? Sales? Marketing? Technical development?
My DVD here: http://startupplanet.com/dvd_hiring.htm has a tool to figure all this stuff out which addresses 20 categories of jobs and levels. It is called The Skill Set Matrix(TM). I do agree personality profiles can be very helpful - but not without knowing your own first in a start-up.
I recommend DISC for managers but with a start-up with only a few people the division of labor and critical skills (personality, domain and risk issues) are the key.
Google the simple model called HOTS popularized in The One Minute Milionaire.
In short it is these four personality types and the need for the first 4 people to fit in this if possible to avoid hiring people like you (our reflex) and hire complementary people (a decision and discipline).
Hares are considered conceptual thinkers or creators. Their specialty is creating new ideas and solving problems.
Owls are planners and advancers. Their specialty is organizational planning and direction, particularly as project managers.
Turtles are considered methodical pragmatists. Their specialty is to identify obstacles and to find creative details within larger systems.
Squirrels are practical operators and producers. Their specialty is to implement and produce products and services accurately and efficiently.
The domain/industry expertise must be in the mix where you are pushing the envelope (USP) for sure (i.e. technology, sales) - that goes without saying but has been shown the success rate of start-ups goes up dramatically when the two founders are opposite and divide the duties according to their skills AND personalities. i.e. Jobs and Wozniak, Hewlett and Packard, etc.
This is a make or break decision for most start-ups and if it is your first it could be your last without getting this right. Seek a mentor and have them participate in the hiring process. You can't hire a top pilot without having pilot skills. Don't pretend to know what you don't know or everyone looks good. Lots of start-ups you never heard of made this mistake. Bill Gates did not.
Really depends on your financial budget capability and what the the most
critical/crucial areas to make the most impact with the company's goals and
plans. If you're able to get the total package, that's Best,but the reality
of most companies , have to make compromises and adjustments.
Firstly, good luck with your venture! Secondly, I would say if you are just starting the staffing process, keep your options open. During the interviews, make sure to ask questions that cover both aspects - the willingness to think outside the box as well as experience and existing knowledge. As you add members to your team, you can start to determine what skills, abilities, and knowledge you want to add into the mix and narrow down the search.
"Get the right people on the bus" is the old adage. This is especially key in startup phase - because likely those that start with you will be around a while. But who are the right people? Depends on the job you are hiring for, and how much money you have. In general though, you will do better hiring for passion than specific expertise. People who are passionate about you and your company will go the extra mile to make sure you succeed. Industry experts will know they can leave for more money, or might get frustrated with the chaos of a startup. Do your best to see if the passionate candidate also has the aptitude to learn the specific skills you would need them for. My best employees over time were ones that came in ready to learn and work hard.
Everyone has great ideas and as stated, this is not an easy task. Another option could be that you find someone with a enough bandwith to increase the responsibility of the current role then you may be able to hire a more Jr level employee that could then be groomed but has that passion you are searching for.
I think your interview questions will be extremely important to target those passionate candidates.
Hope that helps a little. Best of luck in your search
Intelligence is a God gift and having specific value.Creativity counts a lot because it is an art of talent that grooms day by day.Experience comes with time and struggle only so it can't be denied.Hire the team of freshers and for their supervision you have to hire selective experienced staff also.
I believe its a fallacy to believe that you have to choose between relevant experience and creativity / critical thinking. You should look to find the person that possesses both. In the interview process you should look for how they can apply their non-startup experience in a start-up environment. They should be able to relate their skills to your world. If they can't then their experience is useless. They should be able to demonstrate how they would use critical thinking and creativity to address the problems common to start-ups. They should assume that they will have to solve problems on limited budgets.
Based on my experience in working with startups, I know it is as important to be cost-efficient as it is to hire the right people. In your case, the "right" people certainly need to have the core skills you need in the job - because in startup mode you don't have time for hand-holding - but they also need to have the right personality to mesh with your existing DNA. Right now everyone in your startup (and I know there are probably precious few employees at the moment) has to be flexible, agile, thick-skinned, and able to juggle multiple hats while maintaining a good sense of humor about it all. So especially when your employee base is so small, every addition to the pool causes big ripples. Make sure the ripples are in the direction you want to go!
Based on my experience in start up process, I recommend a generalist profiles i.e HR, supply chain, IST, because they will do a little bit of too many things instead a established company (with clear roles) and clarify some moments of uncerteain and ambiguos decitions. Good luck.HG