By Josh Tolan
There are many challenges to successfully launching a startup. Hiring might seem pretty far down the list, but startups should be careful to give the hiring process its due diligence. The employees on the ground floor of any startup are the building blocks on which the company is built. They are the ones determining whether the business will succeed or fail. Below are the hiring pitfalls startups can easily fall into and how to avoid those traps.
Bringing in Too Many Interviewees
In today’s economy even the simplest job posting can bring in a deluge of resumes. How do you sort through the flood? It might seem like a good idea to bring in as many candidates as possible, but it’s just eating up resources better spent on building the business. Instead think about new ways to whittle the search down to only the most promising. This might mean having candidates show their stuff over the phone or in a video interview before committing to taking time out of your busy schedule to meet in person.
Inability to Think Outside the Resume
You know that cliché about thinking outside the box? This is like that, only traditional resumes are the box. In today’s increasing digital world a paper resume might not be all there is to say about a potential hire. Candidates that find creative ways to show off their wares will often bring that same passion and creativity to their new workplace. Interested hires are now using social media and video to show off talents that might otherwise not fit on a simple resume page. Not being married to the traditional resume also means you can more effectively judge the “superior communication skills” listed, whether through a video interview or a Twitter account.
Not Embracing New Technology
The biggest mistake in today’s business world is ignoring new technology. There is barely a company around that can afford not to think digitally anymore. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are making businesses and their customers more intertwined than ever, and allowing companies to speak directly to their consumer base. So why not use these same digital tools in the hiring game?
This is especially true for startups, which might have fewer resources devoted to the traditional hiring process. This is when embracing new technology can make life easier. Instead of sifting through endless resumes, startups can connect with potential hires in a nearly endless variety of digital ways. The ability to use the web, and all its facets of video and social connectivity, is also going to be increasingly important to any new startup. Watching a job candidate’s video or looking at their contributions to discussions on social media outlets can give a good idea of their ability to use the virtual space. This can only help a startup moving forward as the business world embraces the importance of online development.
Employees, like a good pair of jeans, should fit correctly. The resume in front of you might be highly impressive, but will the employee it belongs to blend with the corporate culture.
This is even more important when talking about startups, which often begin their business lives with a relatively small staff. If your new hire doesn’t gel with your old team, the startup fishbowl means problems will be hard to ignore. This is why it’s key to bring important team members into the interview process. Have your serious candidates interview with the people they will be working with closely. This may mean bringing them into an interview session to make sure the fit is correct. After all, you try on your jeans before buying and hopefully your employee will be with you much longer!
There are plenty of pitfalls that startups must avoid in order to thrive in today’s tough business environment. Hiring good people to grow the company should be paramount to any new venture. These employees will be the backbone of the company and set the standard moving forward. Finding the right talented people isn’t always easy, but if you avoid these four mistakes you’ll be well on your way to building a team that will make your startup a success.
What’s the most important thing you look for when hiring for a startup? Has video played a part in any of your recent hires?
Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, which combines a video job board and online interviewing platform to enrich interaction between job seekers and employers. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.