Almost every entrepreneur will tell you that your startup idea is no where near as important as your team. Having quality employees can make all the difference when it comes to success. And when hiring this team, be careful not to overlook a candidate’s attitude or red flags. And, most importantly, trust your gut.
We asked seven entrepreneurs what hiring mistakes startup founders should avoid. Check out their answers below and make sure your startup team is set up for success:
Overlooking Attitude/Cultural Fit in Favor of Skills
You should hire attitude and train skills: Negativity is toxic and can destroy a small company. Overlooking these attitude and cultural fits because you need to fill a certain skills gap can be tempting. I know this firsthand as I made that mistake with an early employee and it turned into a painful situation for everyone. A hard-working optimist will get up to speed fast!
– Douglas Hutchings of Picasolar
Hiring Someone Because You're Desparate
As your company grows there are always going to be holes that you need to fill, but one of the worst mistakes you can make is to pick someone who may not be the best quality or cultural match because you're desperate to fill the void. I firmly believe you're better off being patient and hiring the right person than hiring just because you need to when the right person hasn't appeared yet.
– Joshua Dorkin of Bigger Pockets
Disregarding Red Flags During the Interview and Probation Period
Sometimes when you are hiring staff, you can be so fond of the personality and what they could potentially bring to your organization that you ignore what they are not going to bring. Even with personalities that we think can contribute positively to our companies, we still have to be vigilant and recognize any potential red flags.
– Cody McLain of SupportNinja
Allowing a Manager to Recruit too Many Friends
We once allowed a manager to recruit more than three of his personal friends to our team in a short period of time. Everything was fine until the manager, who had shown no signs of dissatisfaction, surprised us one day and quit without notice. Most of his friends left with him. This situation taught me to evaluate how a new hire will affect the fragility of the team before making a decision.
– Jesse Lear of VIP Waste Services
Paying Too Much for Shiny Credentials
While a salesperson who is held to a set of production standards will always be an excellent investment, be weary of anyone requesting a higher than standard industry salary. Call their references and research them carefully to make sure the increased overhead stacks up to their confidence in their performance.
– Nicole Munoz of StartRankingNow
Not Listening to Your Gut Feeling
I will admit that I foolishly don't see the faults in people early on in the hiring process, but the biggest mistake I've made in the past was not trusting my gut feeling. My gut feeling was correct in all the cases where I ended up having to fire someone. Sometimes your inexplicable entrepreneurial intuition is trying to guide you down the right path.
– Tim Maliyil of AlertBoot
Rushing the Process
‘Slow to hire, quick to fire' is a great mentality. Make sure you interview your potential employees multiple times and get feedback from your other employees as well. This is the one process that should not be rushed because so much time and money goes into onboarding activities.
– Jayna Cooke of EVENTup
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC members generate billions of dollars in revenue and have created tens of thousands of jobs.