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Nov 20, 2016   |   Sara Lian
Thinking of turning your idea into a small business or startup? One of the first things you’ll need to consider is who to take into your team. While hiring people can be some of the toughest decisions that you’ll need to make early on, there are a few simple considerations to make and key qualities you’ll surely want to consider. Here’s some advice we’ve gathered from speaking to successful startups and past competitors of The QEC.
One key trait you’ll want to see in your first hires is a genuine passion for the same vision your startup company is striving for. While past experiences or success may be attractive factors, it’s important that your team has the same core goals, ideals, and visions for how far and where your idea can go. That being said, it won’t be ideal (or possibly, even beneficial) if your hires also share the same opinions as you. When making decisions for your startup, you’ll want as much creativity and contrast in the room as possible to make sure your team covers all risks, opportunities, and possibilities.
Interviews have been the traditional method of assessing qualifications and “fit” for a company, but it’s important that you’re not just assessing potential candidates based on their behaviour. Rather, you should try to get applicants to demonstrate specific skills or aptitude. One example is sending out mini-case studies to applicants you’re interested in. These cases can be open-ended and strategy-based, or even technically focused. Ideally, this will give you some sort of insight on how your candidates approach problem-solving, and where their strengths lie. Moreover, the candidates who don’t complete the case study probably don’t have the drive you’re looking for to move your startup forwards, so you’ll be able to narrow down the selection in this regard as well.
If your idea is quite technical and you need a team of engineers to help bring your vision to reality, then it might be more realistic for you to start here, given your current limits in time and resources. Or, if you’ve already created your product, think about the industry your product is in and how that might affect the backgrounds (education, experience, etc.) needed to balance out your team. While some of the QEC’s past competitors have suggested hiring for a variety of skills, some teams have also been successful by ensuring that team members have quite a few overlapping skills. That way, team members were able to ensure that they stayed on the same page and were able to cover for each other when necessary.
While these are just a few things to consider, it goes without saying that hiring for new talent and team members is a top challenge for many startups. Our advice is: take the time to think about what kind of help you really need based on your idea or business solution and try to find individuals who will be with you for the long-run.