Building A Best Fit Team From The Start

Macy Volpe

Director of Customer Success | All about the customer and the details | Campaigner in Work

When it comes to hiring for a startup, it isn’t about simply filling the empty chairs, but about creating the company. A common misunderstanding is that you need to hire employees right awayand then figure out the details, when in fact you should take time prior to hiring and during the process to bring the best employees onto the team. Short-term goals are important, but with hiring, you should focus on the long term. You want people who will stick around and do their jobs well.

How do you create a team that will be perfect for your company when you don’t have any hires yet? It’s not an easy task, considering that the majority of startup founders have no HR experience and no budget to hire experienced professionals. Luckily, there are some things that can be easily understood to at least make your fundamental hires.

Start by evaluating whom you have currently involved in the company. Are you the only founder, or is there a team building this company? Take a look at everyone’s personalities, how they interact and create, and most important, how they manage others. Then get specific on roles and duties for each integral member of the partners while thinking about the following.

Culture First

What workplace culture are you hoping to achieve? Would you like to have a fun and open environment? Define your ideal culture before you start hiring, and compare each candidate with that in mind. The Harvard Business Review defined it best: “Cultural fit is the likelihood that someone will reflect and/or be able to adapt to the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that make up your organization.” When an employee doesn’t fit in with the culture, it affects the other employees as well. Within a small work environment, culture is even more important.

Determine Need

What role does your company need to fill? Don’t limit yourself to cookie-cutter job positions like admin assistant, event coordinator, etc. Take a look at the areas in which you need assistance, and create specific roles for those duties. You may find that by doing this, you won’t need to hire as many people because roles will overlap. Create a uniqueness about your open positions. Think of this as an additional filter to attract the right people from the start.

Personality Fit

A resume or conversation about credentials is a basic necessity, but personality is a game-changer in hiring, especially for a brand-new company. Skills can be taught, but personality can’t be changed. Take a look at the job that candidates are applying for. Will their personalities fit in this role? If they lack experience in a few areas of need but their personality is a great fit, it might be worth taking a chance if they are eager to learn.

Then compare the personalities of new hires to those already involved in the company. Does it look as though they will work well together? There should be a balance of personality types among a team but also types that will get along. It’s a good idea to be future-focused here and think about leadership roles as well. If this employee is needed to lead a team or project someday, would his or her personality fit the role? Personality opens many doors of discussion when hiring, but team fit, position match, and leadership are the most important factors when hiring for your startup.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush into hiring. Your business plan should be started when you begin hiring for additional roles. Ensure you are allowing yourself the time to be careful about selecting employees who will benefit the company and stick around for a while. Don’t hurry the process by settling for candidates who don’t fit into the above categories. Considering the time and money it takes to train an employee, a typical startup doesn’t have resources to waste, so take your time during the hiring process.

Above all, remember that startup life isn’t what many people expect, so make sure you are hiring a team of action-takers. This is an important trait in all job positions within a startup because things can change on a daily basis, and you will need employees who can move forward no matter the pivot.

It’s also a great idea to lead with your company’s mission and vision. Give candidates a built-out idea of who you are and what you want to do. If this changes later, that is okay, but at that point, let it be a team effort. A happy employee is going to be more productive than someone who didn’t exactly understand what they were getting into. A clear mission will attract people who love what they do, which in turn inspires them to come to work and create.

If you are interested in using a personality assessment for your hiring needs, request a demo.


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