“If you can ‘hire tough’, you can ‘manage easy.”
― Sue Tetzlaff, The Employee Experience: A Capstone Guide to Peak Performance
Hiring the wrong person for your work has obvious financial costs, in addition to loss of time, energy and mind space. Further, it has the potential to impact your work environment negatively. On the other hand, hiring the right person, allows the work culture in your company to get enhanced and while naturally ensuring high quality of work. The right hire also helps in achieving goals that seem challenging, and create an environment that values progress.
What are some attributes to help distinguish a good hire from a bad one?
In the light of the above, how can you ensure a better hire?
At the offset, start ups usually pick people with passion and determination over pure skill set. The general expectation is that employees should be flexible to do a variety of work irrespective of their role. While this dynamism may be needed, it is important to keep in mind and define core roles and responsibilities as well so as to manage time efficiently. This will build a saner, more positive workplace and avoid a compromise of work standards.
Hire someone as soon as you understand that a job needs to be done and when you also have the capability to afford an employee. It isn’t worth waiting for weeks till you want a job done that another person can do in a couple of days. There are so many cases when people got overworked and stressed out themselves and their teams just because they overlooked the prospect of hiring a new employee.
When hiring someone for your company, always keep a slightly greater expectation of the quality of skilled people you hire than needed. This is an obvious and overrated strategy, but quite useful, because when you start hiring people, you will understand that your company will develop exponentially when you try to hire someone who you think you cannot get and actually get them on board.
Hire with purpose:
As a company, keep in mind that the people you hire are not coming on board to fill a vacant space, but to work and to develop the company in question. Hence, when you hire the first few people for your startup, deliberately keep the future in mind and then hire, because if you hire people who don’t see the same vision as you do, then the foundations of your company will be flimsy and will make the company’s situation difficult in the future.
Don’t follow the routine:
There are so many stereotypical questions that you can ask a person in an interview that even the candidates can predict and answer them as they did on their many different interviews. Get your prospect employee out of their comfort zone and ask them to do a task in order to prove themselves. This serves many purposes; if the task at hand is overwhelming for the candidate, then you will get an idea of how they tackle difficult situations, also giving way to narrowing down the good candidates for the job.
Background checks are necessary:
An employee hands you their resume, which contains their previous work experience and other work experiences as well with recommendation letters etc. It is always wise to check these carefully, even contact the people concerned personally to ask about them to get a clear idea about them and their work ethics and culture.
After hiring an employee, it is critical to make sure that you have a proper legal employment contract regardless of how small a company you are. You do not want to get caught in legal matters for things that you could have done easily before but chose to avoid. If you don’t have a binding contract in place, that just means your company and the employee aren’t legally protected and that he/she can go work for someone else without your consent as it will not be against the law but will incur in your loss ultimately. If you keep an eye on the right procedure at the start, it means you can concentrate on your work and not worry about legalities.
Although most ignored, but a very crucial part of your hiring process, you must understand the mentality, personality and behaviour of your prospect candidate before hiring. He/she should be someone who won’t hamper the working environment or violate the culture that you have set for your office. A bad attitude is the first indicator of a candidate not suitable for your work. It affects the other employees as well and adds to the stress that your employees will already face if it is a growing start up. It is easy to train someone for their technical skills, but manners, ethics and numeracy are something that are deeply instilled in a person. Having excellent skills is useless if they aren’t put to proper use. If someone has a severe lack of motivation, temper issues or are too emotionally strained, they will fade away from the purpose of your work and will hamper your progress instead of growing it.
Some quick tips to keep in mind while hiring for your start-up:
- Try avoiding people who criticize or badmouth their previous employers or colleagues.
- Always keep a store of questions in hand to assess the behaviour of your candidate.
- When interviewing, ask for references. Non-credible candidates usually avoid giving solid references.
- Pre- screening your candidates can save a lot of your time.
- Keep an on-boarding plan designed to make the process of inducing the new person smooth.