Rise Performance Group

Hiring Advice for Startup Owners: 5 Qualities to Look For

12.17.12By Aoife Gorey

If your startup’s starting to grow, you may be considering hiring on a few new people. As you probably already know, who you hire matters at a small, growing company. The health of your operation depends on who you have working for you. There’s only so much you can accomplish by yourself.

Your staff needs to be able to handle everything you can’t do with ease. Additionally, you probably don’t have the time or financial resources to deal with a high turnover rate. Unfortunately, a candidate who looks good on paper may not be the best fit for your company. Oftentimes, intangible qualities matter just as much as tangible skills when it comes to your employees. As you hire on new members of your team, make sure you look for these five qualities:

1. Creativity

You want people who can come up with innovative solutions to problems. You want people who think outside of the box and can help you create the kinds of goods and/or services you need to create to thrive. So, make sure you ask prospective job candidates behavioral interview questions that will help you gauge how adept they are at coming up with new ideas and solving problems in innovative ways.

2. Loyalty

When a medium-sized or large business loses one of its most talented employees, it isn’t necessarily devastating. When a startup loses one of its most talented employees, it’s a pain in the neck, to put it mildly. You probably don’t have an HR department to take care of the time-consuming aspects of recruiting and hiring. You have to do all the work yourself. When you lose good employees you’ve invested precious time and effort into training, it can be downright frustrating. You want loyal employees at your startup who won’t leave when the going gets tough. Look for candidates with stable job histories who speak fondly of their past job experiences.

3. Tenacity

You don’t want people on staff who will twiddle their thumbs on Facebook for half of the workday and then finish the work they’re assigned at a snail’s pace. You want people who are driven, who will go above and beyond, and who will challenge themselves and the whole company to do better. The best employees at fledgling startups are those who are willing to devote themselves to their companies’ causes and those who are tenacious about achieving their goals. When you’re interviewing candidates, ask questions to assess how passionate they are about their work and how often they’ve gone the extra mile at their previous jobs.

4. Flexibility

Everything isn’t always nice and neat at a startup. Sometimes things can get a bit chaotic. This isn’t necessarily because you aren’t good at what you do. It’s because you have limited resources, and you’re trying to build a successful business under bleak economic circumstances. Because of this, your startup will often have to learn through trial and error what works. This means that change will be a constant until your business becomes more established. Employees who have trouble with change have trouble at startups. Make sure you determine how flexible and open to change candidates are before you hire them.

5. Interpersonal Skills

People skills matter. How well your employees get along with you and each other can ultimately determine how successful you are. Interpersonal conflicts can cost your company important time, effort, and, ultimately, money. During the interview phase of your recruitment process, make sure you ask questions that help you appraise how candidates have resolved conflict at work in the past and how well they work on teams.

Picking the right employees for your startup can be hard work, but it’s worth the effort. Look for the qualities listed above as you recruit new staff members, and don’t settle for anything less than the best. Your startup deserves it!

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