What to Look for When Hiring for Your Startup

Small business have their unique needs.

Whether you have a still-new startup or your business has been up and running for a couple of years, the qualities a small business requires may be different from those of other companies.  Your employees need to be self-starters, and must be resourceful and creative.  They have to be more resourceful than cubicle-dwellers of large companies.

Here are some of the Key attributes you’re looking for.

1. Positive Attitude

One of the key traits of a startup is that it hasn’t yet had time to unpack its potential.  People with negative attitudes might find a way to succeed in a lot of positions, but a post at a small company is not one of them.  All of your employees have the responsibility for growing your company.  That takes optimism and an attitude that takes small problems as a challenge.

2. Will to Learn

Just as your company will be different two or three years from now will be different, so must your employees be.  Someone with his or her nose to the grindstone now might have an employee or two under her later, and may be doing some training.  Team members may be learning software that is completely foreign and may play increasing roles in advertising, marketing, and promotion.  If your potential employee has gone out on a limb before, doing something she doesn’t know how to do successfully, she just may be gold.

3. Improving

Some people do a bang-up job, whether it be in IT, bookkeeping, or sales.  Some people achieve more than you’ve expected in terms of the main objectives of the jobs: sales numbers, etc.  But then there’s another brand of employee, and that’s the one who makes improvement in his area.

One of the chief things this person does is to figure out, conceptually, how to do his or her job in a better way than it had been done before.  This can mean understanding it, the way Mark Zuckerberg understood social proclivities of people and the way Steve Jobs understood how important quality was in the face of other considerations, such as price.

In addition, the improver will augment or expand operations, finding new or different clients or suppliers, etc. The improver may hone in on ways of improving efficiency.  Again, an entrepreneur needs this particular trait.

4. Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness means a lot of things when looking ot hire for the small company you’ve put together.  One thing it can mean, of course, is not leaving after eighteen months and stealing your clients.  It means not taking your information and burning you with it.

But it also means things like having your best interests at heart, doing things the way you you’d have it done, acting as a surrogate for you.

One way to find this elusive creature is to hire someone you already know.  Other ways are to read the person as well as you can, to do all you can to foster trustworthiness, and get rid of people who don’t fit the bill.

What’s important is to remember that combinations of traits are important.  A great employee has to have most of the qualities listed—excelling a bit on one of two areas but lacking in others can cause that employee to be a problem.