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Hire a Great Startup Employee

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 29, 2011

If you run a young company, you know that every hire matters. So how do you choose the ideal person to work in this unique environment? While the requirements for specific positions vary, there are some overriding traits that define someone who will work well in a startup environment, including:

1. Relevant experience that cuts down on training time. Experience always matters. To a young company, it matters more. There is precious little, if any, time for training. You need someone who can hit the ground running.

2. Someone not afraid to take risks. Startups thrive on people who are willing to make tough decisions and try things that have never been tried before. Candidates who show willingness and ability to take on new challenges are good targets. They must also show the wisdom to know when not to take risks.

3. A candidate who adds to your diversity. Every team benefits from a constructive, balanced mix of different experiences, complementary skill-sets, industry relationships, ages, and personality types. Finding the right balance is important. It needs to be done in the contexts of both the specific job and the broader organization.

4. Problem-solvers. Many things at a startup are new and have never been done before. Ideal candidates will give a lot of examples in which they have not only found solutions to problems, but where they’ve taken it upon themselves to implement those solutions.

The world of a startup is like no other. It is fast-paced, exciting, and full of unknowns. It takes a special candidate to fill that role. Looking at a combination of specific job experience along with some of the more intangible traits discussed above will usually net you a great hire.

Steve Fredrick
McLean, Va.

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