Startup Hiring Tips – The Golden Rule

Startup Hiring Tips – The Golden Rule

Take a long time to hire, but if needed let go very fast

Hiring key members of the team is the single most decision a founder makes. So hiring should be done right and if things do not turn out well, let go early. It is best for your startup and the person involved.

Hiring in Startups

Many articles have been written on this. But here are my top 2 suggestions:

More Interview Sessions / Candidate Is Good

Make sure that the candidate is interviewed by as many people in your startup and possibly outsiders whom you trust. Make sure this group is diverse in their function and experience.

360 Degree Interview Is Good

If the candidate is coming at senior position and will lead a team that is already part of the startup journey, a 360 degree interview is essential.

“People are good. It is the matching, that can be good or bad.”  – My Matchup Rule

If your existing team does not feel the candidate will help them leap forward and higher, you may end ultimately up losing them. The 360 degree feedback will help you catch such issues before the candidate is hired.

Letting Go in Startups

Sometime we do make mistakes and end up with a wrong person-role match. Remember my match up rule:

“People are good. It is the matching, that can be good or bad.”

‘I Can Fix’ This Is Bad

If startups end up in situation of a wrong hire, I have seen smart leader make same key mistake: they think they can fix it. This causes these issues:

  1. Discontent among performers that you are paying too much attention to a non-performer,
  2. Discontent among those affected that you care more about a wrong hire than those who are delivering, and
  3. Sense of personal failure in the hire that inspite of all the support, he/she can not deliver.

There is no point fighting a battle in which there will be no winners and your startup will lose most.

‘Let Me Help You Move On’ Is Good

Help the wrong hire find a better fit. This will ensure you:

  1. Have not burnt bridges with a smart person,
  2. You will have strong relationship that you can use in a future hire where there is a better match, and
  3. Your existing team will feel inspired that you do not abandoned someone.


Photo courtesy KariHak via Creative Commons


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Dinker Charak

Dinker has over a decade of experience in building products across diverse domains as Industrial Automation, Home Automations, Operating Systems, High Energy Particle Physics, Embedded Systems, Online Video Advertising, Messaging, K-12 education and Private Banking. He also founded Gungroo Software. His books #ProMa, Absolute and None & The Murmurs of the Dawn are available on Amazon.
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