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It’s hard to hire smart people, but if you ask the right questions it’s much easier to weed out the duds from the studs.Business Insider compiled the best questions and insights from Under 30 CEO, Mashable, and the Young Entrepreneur Council.
According to Under 30 CEO blog, every hiree should have no qualms about making copies or doing tasks outside their job description or what they would deem below their pay grade. In the world of startups, where there is never enough bodies it is a necessity that everyone realises they must pitch in, even if it means standing in front of the Xerox machine.
Everyone says they learn from their mistakes but a candidate needs to go above and beyond that generic answer. Susan Strayer told Under 30 CEO that ideally, the person should state what they did, why they did it, and if they went out of their way to learn how to fix it. Do they have the drive to not only realise what they did wrong but how to improve in the future?
If they have one, not worth your time. Startups don't have the typical 9 to 5 schedule and long hours are expected. Candidates need to be prepared for odd hours, their social life taking a hit and strain on relationships. It's just part of the gig.
Derek Shanahan, co-founder of Foodtree, summed it up nicely on the Young Entrepreneur Council site
'It's not that we all need to work 120-hour weeks. It's not that you have to be in on Sunday. It's not that you need to give up your girlfriend or gardening. It's that there are no hours; a startup is a mission and a mission doesn't have a daily start and end time. If something breaks at midnight, we fix it. If the sun begs an afternoon run, take that run. This isn't a job. This is a lifestyle.'
A startup's culture is anything but normal, where stress levels runs high, personalities collide, and the ups and down may create a nauseating roller coaster ride for some. This crazy lifestyle may not be suited for people who have lived in the corporate environment and having a startup history is a definite bonus.
At first glance, it would seem like a founder would be looking for people just like them--employees with drive, vision, and passion. Not necessarily, according to Under 30 CEO co-founder Matt Wilson. Founders want their employees to stay at their startup and help it grow. Someone with too much ambition, might take the experienced gained, jump ship, and launch their own startup.
'Listen to your gut and if this person is the type who simply wants to work for themselves, don't hire them,' Wilson told the Young Entrepreneur Council.
When times are tough, it's imperative to look for someone who will stay committed. If they person you are interviewing states he/she will try and wait out the storm rather than fight against it, may not be the right fit. Passion and drive are key.
Startups are always evolving and people working at one need to be ready for anything. Uncertainty is part of the job and the candidate needs to understand that. Adaption and flexibility are key. Michale J. Case told Mashable this question is a must for interview as it helps startups determine if candidates have the ability to adapt. If someone is used to working a regular schedule, doing the same tasks day-in-day-out, and thrive on consistency, a hectic startup may not be for them.
People need to understand they may need to spread themselves thin, as often times startups don't have enough people or resources. Managing your time, having the ability to decipher what is most important, and doing so efficiently is key.
At startups, employees must be able to check tasks off their list. Make sure they have a record of successful completions at previous employers.
If the candidate answers they need to micromanaged, they need to see the door. No one at startups has the time to do hand holding, and people working at one need to be able to take their own initiative.
A good tip provided by Thursday Bram to The Young Entrepreneur Council.
'Whenever I'm considering a new hire, I go looking for any side projects that individual has worked on -- blogs, open source projects and so on. Those sorts of projects tell me that a potential employee can work on her own without me staring over her shoulder. It also says that a person is a self-starter, which is a great indicator that she will do well in a startup situation.'
Getting to the real reason someone is sitting across from you in an interview is key. Do they consider the position as just a job? If yes, move on. It should be a career and not another place to punch the clock. Are they looking for security? Again, if answer yes, they may not be great for this position. Realistically, startups suffer a high failure rate and often fold. People at startups must be willing to take risk and know exactly what they are getting into.
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