Entrepreneurs often face a great deal of stress, but building a team that inspires trust can help mitigate anxiety. At the same time, finding the right employees involves a significant amount of work and responsibility. Often, the strategy for hiring new employees evolves over time.
In the beginning, entrepreneurs need partners who can wear many hats. Over time, employee roles can start to get more specialized. Business leaders need to think deeply about strategy and what they need from a new employee before they make a hire, especially for the initial hires.
Tools like Censia can help people find the right employees for their needs. Some other tips to keep in mind when it comes to building an excellent team include:
1. Focus on potential.
Too often, entrepreneurs focus exclusively on a potential hire’s experience when looking for a new employee. One of the key traits of a business leader is the ability to see potential. Investing in an employee with a lot of potential can mean having the ability to shape that person’s development and potentially gaining a very loyal member of the team.
Entrepreneurs should look for people with similar passions and missions that align with their own as these are the individuals who can really further a company. Of course, entrepreneurs should also make sure there is evidence that that person can deliver. This evidence can look like a wide variety of different things, from academic success to volunteer work.
2. Think about the team.
When entrepreneurs hire people, they should think of them less as employees and more as members of the team. In other words, this person should have appropriate input about the future of the company and be capable of sitting at the strategizing table. If entrepreneurs feel like they do not trust a potential employee enough to make them a true part of the team, then that is a sign that the person should not be hired—at least at this stage.
Also, people tend to join startups because they know that they can have a lot of influence at the company so denying this sort of position can lead to frustration and tension. If possible, in the early stages, every member of the team should meet a potential new hire to make sure that it is a good cultural fit.
3. Ask for proof of skill.
Many people interview well, but that does not always translate directly to the work they will perform for the company. According to research, the best way to vet a new employee is to task them with a small job. This can be something as simple as asking a salesman to sell you something or as complicated as programming a new app.
Individuals willing to put in the time and energy prove that they really want the job while also giving business leaders a true sense of their skills. While it is unfair to have applicants do any job that is incredibly time consuming, asking for a small project is a great way to judge work ethic and product.
4. Sell people on the company.
The interview process is a two-way street. While business leaders need to make sure that the applicant is the right fit, they also need to get buy-in from that person. When entrepreneurs can get people really excited, they can begin to unlock their potential.
The right employee will have ideas about the company and demonstrate a willingness to learn, grow, and adapt with the organization as it expands. People who do not get excited about the organization and their potential role in it may not have the right enthusiasm to help drive growth.
Ultimately, an organization is only successful when all of its employees believe in its mission. This means the importance of securing buy-in from potential hires should not be overlooked.
5. Allow expectations to be inspired by your applicant pool.
Prior interviewing anyone for a particular position, entrepreneurs should have a clear idea of the attributes and skills that they want from a potential hire. Thinking about this prior to the fact helps people figure out what they should ask during their interview. At the same time, it is important not to let these expectations become too confining.
Sometimes, applicants will surprise interviewers with the unique ways in which they approach a situation. Having this innovative spirit can really propel a company. Sometimes, the best person for a particular job does not check all the boxes, but brings enough of a unique perspective that it is does not matter.
6. Provide some onboarding.
The onboarding process is likely to evolve over time, but it is important to have one starting even with the first hire. Expecting people to fit immediately into a company without first providing them with some context and direction is unrealistic. Ideally, each hire should have a clear sense of the company’s history and strategy.
While conversations are a great way to convey this information, having something in a presentation or at least a written resource guarantees that everyone is getting the same information and starting on the same page. The process should necessarily get more involved and complicated with each hire, but it is important not to ignore onboarding altogether in the very beginning.