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5 Crucial Qualities Startup Hires Must Possess

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by Startacus Admin

qualities startup hires
How are you going to find and hire employees to make your startup a success from the offset? Here are 5 main qualities you could search for in your potential candidates...


Daniel Ross is part of the marketing team at Roubler.com — a scheduling and payroll software platform founded in Australia. Their roublermission is to change the way the world manages its workforces. Here, Daniel shares his thoughts on the 5 crucial qualities he thinks startup hires must possess...


"In business, not everybody thrives on comfort, security and certainty; some prefer creativity, challenge, unpredictability and adventure. That’s not to say that all startups are fraught with challenges, but there is often an element of the unknown. For some, that’s exciting.

When hiring for a startup company, you need people who can handle uncertainty. The right people for your business will have an entrepreneurial spirit. They’ll view your business as a blank canvas… a canvas on which they’ll club together with your team to create the most attractive picture possible.

What’s so great about startups?

The atmosphere and attitude is generally more casual; as people are creating the business together, there isn’t much room for stuffy, corporate-style rules and policies. However, structure is necessary, and building it together is satisfying.

hiring for your startupThere is a huge sense of achievement when a startup takes off. It’s a bonding exercise for all involved, creating a strong foundation. Startups generally mean freedom, in terms of creativity and flexibility.

The thing is that not everyone is cut out for getting a startup off the ground. How are you going to find the key players to make it a success from the offset? These are the five main qualities you should search for in your candidates:

1. Flexibility

A fundamental quality your candidates should possess is flexibility. For example, issues can arise when a team member has been working on an aspect of the business that they’re excited about. If it later transpires that this won’t work, disappointment and despondency can set in.

These feelings kill motivation, and potentially the budding business too. It’s important to discern whether your candidates can handle this kind of thing - at interview stage.

Candidates must also be flexible in terms of how much time and effort they’re prepared to put in. They should see this business as their baby; a nine to five attitude won’t cut it. Figure out what commitments they have, and what their attitude is… well ahead of employment. Determine whether their vision genuinely aligns with yours, as the founder of this startup.

2. Accountability

This is an important one. It’s all very well to have ideas that look great on paper, but these ideas must be thoroughly considered. Ideally there will be verifiable experience behind them.

The question is:how accountable are your employees prepared to be? What will happen if things don’t work out when they implement their ideas? Everything stems from an idea, but not all ideas work out as intended. This can be a serious problem for a startup, and it’s even worse if employees won’t admit to mistakes.hiring for a startup

How prepared are they to rectify issues that spring up as a result of their plans? How quickly will they be able to do this? It helps to find out how sure they are of their ideas are in the first place. Set hypothetical scenarios at interview that will uncover their ability to defend ideas and think quickly.

3. Adaptability

People who are good at rolling with life’s punches tend to have a lot of faith in their abilities. They understand that even if the worst-case scenario happens, they’ll dust themselves off and move on to the next project. Obviously you don’t want them running off the moment things get hairy, but they must be able to adapt easily.

A team of entrepreneurial spirits is crucial for startup success. There are probably going to be innumerable changes along the way. If your team is resistant to this, it’s going to be a problem. It helps to understand what experiences your candidates have had previously.

Get them to describe a time when a drastic change or obstacle came up within their role or company, how they felt about it, how the handled it, and what the end result was. You need to know what part they played in that end result.

4. Drive

Your candidates must possess a strong ambitious streak if they’re to be a credit to your startup. This ambition is what will compel them to get up each day and give everything they have to the success of your business.

hiring for your startupTheir drive will be strongly linked to their level of creativity. Try to determine how a candidate would respond to an unfamiliar hypothetical scenario. Examine their response to this. How enthusiastic are they? Do they take time to consider it carefully, or do they give you a generic solution?

How resourceful are they?If they can be motivated to find a solution in the face of any problem, applying whatever mental and physical resources they have, they have the drive you require.

5. Creativity

A key trait to look for in your candidates is creativity. Is this person’s thinking original? For a startup to be successful, originality and creative thinking are musts. Creative thinkers aren’t usually comfortable being bound by stifling rules, but they’re great at setting up functional structures and implementing long term visions.

Your startup will need to stand out from the crowd. How will your candidate play a part in manifesting this? What can they bring to the table to make your business different from the rest? How will they utilise their creativity for problem solving?

Creative people are generally emotionally intelligent, so look out for this in your candidates. It means they’ll handle other people and issues with care and positivity. They will probably care more about the results your startup gets, as well as the experience of the other people within it.

Simply put, it’s imperative to determine these qualities at interview stage so as to avoid failure later down the line. If you can get a team of creative thinkers who are driven, resourceful, flexible and adaptable, you’re on the way to startup success.

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Published on: 3rd April 2018

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