6 of the Best Qualities for Entrepreneurs to Look for in Potential Hires

6 of the Best Qualities for Entrepreneurs to Look for in Potential Hires

Entrepreneurs have more tools than ever before to find the best employees for their startups. Companies like Censia, for example, simplify the process of finding ideal employees with the use of artificial intelligence. Still, entrepreneurs should have a general sense of the kind of employees they want at their company.

Not all employees are created equal. Even individuals with the right skills may not be a good fit if they do not have the right mindset. Entrepreneurs should take their time when it comes to hiring new employees. The right hire can prove extremely beneficial and is worth the wait.

Some of the qualities that entrepreneurs may want to look for in potential hires include:

1. Flexible

At a startup with relatively few employees, individuals often end up wearing numerous “hats” over the course of a day. Sometimes, the work involved is routine because that is what the company needs in a particular moment.

The ideal startup employee works to move the company toward overarching goals rather than focusing on particular roles. If a candidate wants a detailed job description, that should be considered a red flag. Ultimately, employees are paid to support the company, not to perform one specific job.

Candidates who are a good fit are enthusiastic and willing to do whatever they can to push the company forward. While individuals may have some defined roles, they should also be fine with flexibility.

entrepreneur worker

2. Self-Motivated

Entrepreneurs are extremely busy. As a result, they may not always have the time to delegate tasks themselves. For that reason, candidates who can operate fairly independently are extremely valuable. This makes management more of a challenge, but the payoff in terms of getting things done without the need to micromanage is worth it.

Of course, there needs to be a balance. Candidates must know when they need to seek the opinion of leadership and when they can make choices on their own to keep everything moving. Thus, entrepreneurs need to determine how individuals operate and when they might set limits to their autonomy.

3. Knowledgeable and Confident

When individuals interview for a position, they should be knowledgeable about the company and industry. Individuals should have a clear sense of the history and potential future trajectory of the organization. In addition, they should have already considered how their skill sets would be valuable in that context.

Candidates with initiative are interested in the impact that they can make at an organization. Some entrepreneurs will give candidates a task to complete or an issue to consider prior to the interview. It is also impressive when individuals already have insights they believe would be valuable to your business.

4. Personable

Cultural fit with a company is important. Ideal candidates may help establish culture at a company. They may also complement the existing culture and maybe even challenge it in a constructive way.

Startups generally do not have many staff members. This means that entrepreneurs need to consider how their workday will be affected by different personalities. Someone who is quirky and has a strong personality may be abrasive at times, but will ultimately add a lot of color to the day.

Think about your favorite vendors and customers. These individuals are usually friendly, funny, and outgoing. Entrepreneurs should seek the same traits in their own employees.


5. Passionate

The importance of passion among startup employees cannot be overemphasized. The best candidates do not think of their employment as just a job. Rather, they think about how their work could have a greater impact and let them motivate them.

Ideally, candidates have a demonstrated passion that aligns with their anticipated tasks and have previously worked in roles with similar responsibilities. However, candidates that can show genuine passion for the work of the company could also be a good fit.

This passion translates to excitement in the workplace and that sort of energy can inspire other people to work diligently and achieve great things. Entrepreneurs themselves should be able to inspire other people to greatness, but this becomes much easier with shared passion.

6. Interested in Leadership

Often, the earliest hires at a startup become its leaders later in the company’s lifecycle. For that reason, entrepreneurs may want to seek out candidates with leadership potential, or at least individuals who express interest in learning how to lead effectively.

The best candidates have ambition and see a clear trajectory for their own careers. This means that they want to learn and grow along with the organizations. With these individuals already on staff, choosing future executives and leaders becomes much easier as employees may naturally fall into these roles.

While expressing ambition is helpful, entrepreneurs should look for a growth trajectory in former positions.

About the Author

Joanna RileyJoanna (Jo) Riley is an entrepreneur, investor, and advocate in technology, and is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Censia. Jo has a highly experienced background in building and scaling companies, which she attributes to her deep passion for people and building technologies that allow people to be their best selves. She brings her wide knowledge of the industry to better transform the way enterprise companies hire talent. You can connect with Joanna Riley at @joannakiddriley on Twitter or on Linkedin. Read her full bio here.