Let’s say that your startup is currently hiring and two candidates have responded to your job offer: based on the facts from their resumes, one is a graduate from a top-tier university with full honors and three years of experience working for a multinational firm, while the other is a high school dropout with no prior working experience. Well, it does seem like a rather easy choice who to pick, isn’t it? Even before the interview process starts, it may be a foregone conclusion that your startup will hire the top-tier university graduate simply because the candidate already has the prerequisite skills and experience to contribute immediately to your startup and be productive. While in most cases this may certainly be true, here are some important factors that you should consider to make sure that the candidate that you hire is indeed the right fit for your startup.
While lofty degrees and valuable work experience are important things to look for in any candidate, one cannot forget that attitude is the key that binds it all together. Your startup may acquire a once-in-a-generation talent with a deep breadth of knowledge and skills, but if the hire acts obnoxiously and is generally a toxic nuisance, all the brilliance and ability in the world cannot offset the detrimental liability and harm that their negative attitude will cause to your startup. Conversely, a hardworking and capable candidate who happens to be a high school dropout may turn out to be one of your startup’s best hires if they are given the time and opportunity to grow and mature their skills properly. The right attitude and mindset is one of the most important things to look for in any candidate as they determine the potential hire’s long-term viability and fit for your startup, but they are often overlooked because they are not as easily discernible as paper qualifications. One company came up with an ingenious method of gauging potential hires’ attitude when hiring; they will have the office cleaner engage in conversation with candidates prior to the interview. Afterwards they will follow up with the cleaner for feedback, and if the candidate wasn’t nice or acted rudely, then that’s one less person to consider for the job.
Knowledge is another area of importance when considering a potential talent’s capabilities and value to your startup. Potential hires who are keen on working for your startup can be assumed to have done the necessary homework on your company’s background, core values and vision, besides being knowledgeable about the role that they want to fill. It shows dedication and effort on the part of the candidates if they come well-prepared with the proper understanding of your startup’s culture and values, and it also means that they have determined that your startup is the right place for them to further develop and improve themselves. Candidates’ genuine passion and interest in the relevant subject matter can also be determined by their knowledge – they should be quite capable of holding their own in intelligent conversations beyond just the usual buzzwords. Keep in mind, too, that top-tier degrees and certificates are not the sole indicators of depth and breadth of knowledge; potential talent can acquire their knowledge and expertise from real world settings instead of academic ones, for example.
Potential hires may be armed with the best academic know-how and comprehension, but unless they can translate that knowledge into practical skills, they may not contribute much to your startup. Whereas knowledge is understanding and insight, skills are the ability and capability to act on that knowledge in a productive manner. A programmer may be able to talk circles around emerging tech, but the real bread and butter is in the actual development of a functioning app that is not plagued with bugs and faults. Testing a potential talent’s skills is usually a key part of the hiring process, and is a good indication of their current capabilities and how those might develop in the future. Besides, it also offers you an inside glimpse into their thought processes and problem-solving competencies for overcoming challenges.
Hiring for your startup requires you to examine three crucial areas of any potential talent: attitude, knowledge and skills. An ideal candidate would be one that possesses the right attitude to fit in with your startup’s culture to go along with breadth of knowledge and depth of skills, though it is important to remember that the correct attitude is the key that makes everything work successfully together.