We got a little ahead of ourselves when we jumped straight to the firing process and didn’t even take you through the hiring process. If you’ve reached the point in your startup where you need to hire new people, first of all, congratulations! That means that you’re doing something right, and your business is growing.
For most startups, hiring new employees is a luxury. Usually, it’s just you playing all parts. It’s like a one-man (or one-woman) show. And to top it off, you’re probably doing it for free. As a boss, you’re the last person to get a paycheck because you’re banking on your company paying you back ten fold in the future. However, you can’t hire new people and not offer them a paycheck. You also cannot pay them what they are worth. It’s a delicate balance for a startup to find the right people who will help push your business forward, yet convincing them that they should work for less than they deserve. That is the nature of the beast.
Equal part skill, equal part passion
Skills and passion are what you’re looking for in a startup employee. You are looking for someone who believes in your product or services so much, that at the beginning, they are willing to work for less. With the promise that once the business takes off and starts making money, they will also be making more money. Hire a person to be a part of your team, not just to be your employee.
There’s always the time-tested trick of hiring friends. You already know their skill sets, you know you get along with them, and you know they want the best for you and your business. Win, win, win. But, what if you don’t have friends with the skills that you need, or don’t want to risk conflict with them? Then you go for an outside hire.
When you interview new employees, the best way to test their skills is to give them a problem to solve, or a product to sell, or a project to complete. If you already have other employees, let everyone talk to the new person. Too many conflicting personalities will stifle your productivity and creativity. If your team isn’t getting along, your business will suffer. Skills and passion are essential, but so is the right marriage of personalities.
Everyone lies a little (or a lot) on their resume
By now, everyone knows how to placate a potential new boss. Everyone knows how to embellish their resume. When you go to hire a person don’t just rely on what they tell you (because they will say anything to get the job) or their resume (because most people will lie). Set up an everyday problem or task that would be typical of their responsibilities and see if they can perform. Have them show you their skills, not just tell you about their skills.
Last, you may not be able to pay them a lot of money, so at least make sure you have all your legal ducks in a row. No matter how much you trust your new employee, write up a legal contract when you hire. It will protect you and your new team member.
This is your passion, this is your life, take the time to do each step correctly and legally and avoid unnecessary hassles and setbacks in the future.