You’ve heard it countless times, your people are your most important asset. You’re going to be heavily invested in your staff, and you want a staff that is heavily invested in you. But, how do you find these jack-of-all-trade types who are just incredible at getting things done? It’s definitely a tough process, but here are a few tips to start you off.
Find people who believe in what you’re doing.
It’s natural for candidates to ask a lot of questions about the role itself but, especially early on when roles are more ambiguous, look out for people who are more curious about your product than what they’ll actually be doing day-to-day. First, you’re probably creating this role for the first time so the actual content of the role is likely to change. Second, someone interested in solving your problem is more willing to pitch in wherever necessary, and that’s what you really need.
Hire people for potential, not for experience.
Experience is very, very expensive. And, unless you’re like no other entrepreneur I’ve ever met, your first few hires are going to be wearing many hats. Five years of experience should never trump a candidate that seems bright, interested, solution-oriented and has an understanding of the world around them. All else equal, sure, experience helps. But unless you’re able to pay top dollar, you should pay a premium for intelligence, not years behind a desk.
Don’t re-hire yourself.
You're probably pretty great. But, you already have you, so hire people who are not you. It’s tempting to give extra weight to people who took your exact degree or took a very similar career path. But having a team with a diverse background is critical to making complex decisions, especially at the speed you’re going to be making them, so make sure you have different voices in the room.
Use your existing networks.
This point is probably beaten to death, but leveraging your networks is absolutely critical. Besides sharing it on Facebook and Twitter, make sure to incentivise your existing staff with a hiring bonus if they refer the successful candidate. It will pay off if you find the right person. Plus, they’ll probably be a pretty good culture fit and it still costs way less than a recruiter.
Find people even when you’re not looking.
Chances are you’re out meeting people all the time, so make sure you keep hiring in the back of your mind. Often the right person might not be checking your job board but, if you keep the relationship open, then you might be able to snag them the next time something comes up.
Your hiring decisions, especially in the early days, will impact your productivity and define your culture. You need to hit the ground running with the right people behind you. So take a deep breath, choose carefully and find the right fit.