How To Hire A Winning Team For A Cash-Strapped Startup (Part II)

There are two things startup founders need, a pipeline of money and rockstar talent. Regardless of your stage in the startup journey, you need to know these high-reward strategies that cash-strapped founders simply cannot afford to skip when seeking top talent.

We discussed our top three key strategies here, in case you missed it. In this second part, we will debunk some myths about hiring great talent and examine some popular questions startup founders have over hiring issues based on my experience. So, let’s start.

 

#1 Hiring Ex-Employees of Big Companies Equals To Hiring Rock-Star Talent

This is a classic example of where startups tend to go wrong with their early key hires. Startup founders new to hiring often make the mistake of keeping everything in the abstract rather than drilling down into results. It’s important not to get ‘wowed’ by big names and fully understand how the potential candidate will benefit your company. Just because someone has worked for a big name such as Facebook, Google, Uber, does not necessarily make them the right fit for your company.

Do skills, personality or preference tests for every key position you hire to provide you with more concrete data points. Evaluate how the shortlisted candidates answer behavioral questions ( drawing from experience) and ask non-work related questions to assess their mindset for e.g who do you admire and why? For senior hires, have them prepare presentations or business cases on topics or challenges your company faces to assess their abilities. See them in action in real-time.

#2 Which is the priority, right business experience or cultural fit?

Zappos, well-known as one of the companies with a fantastic culture, hires according to cultural fit first and foremost. It has established what the company culture is, and fitting into that culture is the most important thing their managers look for when hiring. This promotes the culture and happy employees, which ultimately leads to happy customers.

While skillsets can be learned, it is difficult to instill the right mindset and personalities into someone. Make your culture and values clear on your company’s website and in external material, so that only the right individuals apply in the first place.

#3 Good Pay, Great Flexibility, and Awesome Office Space Attracts Top Talent

As attractive as it sounds, your top talent may not last. The most important thing is to understand what motivates them: interesting challenges, talented coworkers, or working on a product that gets used by a lot of people. Money and free-flow pantry are great, but we all have a motivation which is greater than money.

The opportunity to do great things, to make a real difference, is what drives most top talent regardless of their roles. The talent you want would be happy to work in an un-airconditioned warehouse in Indonesia if it meant the chance to change the world.

Most companies do not offer this, but you have to be different. Offer them something exciting and great. The promise of creating an innovative product that helps to solve a real world problem (Improving the delivery time of a ramen delivery by 2 minutes does not count) is an incredibly exciting challenge and a big way for ambitious people to make an impact.


However, it takes more than lip service to make the sale. These top talent must truly believe in your company’s mission and that they are empowered to make this change. Empower your top talent to be innovative is one of the best lasting factors that will make them loyal to you.