Common Mistakes Startups Make When Hiring

Without a skilled and motivated workforce, every company is doomed for failure. This statement is even stronger when it comes to startups. As a new business, with low resources and a limited amount of time to break into the market, every mistake can end up wasting a lot of money. Additionally, hiring the wrong people for a startup will not only cost more because of the constant need to recruit, but this will also tarnish the employer branding, before it even had the chance to build itself up.

By avoiding the common hiring mistakes startups make in the early days, you can ensure that your employees will be the best pick to help grow your company and retain them for longer as well.

  1. Hiring for One Thing and Employing for Many More

At the beginning of many startups, the founder is the sole employee, and they do a little bit of everything. They may do the coding, the accounting, run business meetings, anything they need to get the company off the ground. Once the company grows, they are unable to take on all of the new responsibilities, and that’s when they start recruiting. However, some founders remain with the same mentality that everyone should do a bit of everything to help the company succeed. 

Jack of all trades master of none is a phrase for a reason. You can’t expect your employee to be an amazing coder and a visionary graphic designer at the same time. And if they are, by a stroke of luck, good at both fields, it doesn’t mean they have the time to do the job of two people. They will probably end up presenting mediocre results in both tasks. Moreover, you can’t expect them to take on more responsibilities that they didn’t sign up for, without them feeling resentful and eventually quitting.

This situation can be avoided with a recruiting plan that finds a specialist for each role. You can start with focused and detailed job descriptions, or use the assistance of New York startup headhunters, search firms in Texas, or wherever you are located, to help you find the best talent while ensuring you have targeted goals for hiring. 

  1. Not Revealing the Whole Picture

Working for a startup can sound extremely attractive. As it is a small company, there are a lot of opportunities to get your feet wet in new fields, learn and grow into new positions much faster than in a big corporation. Startups usually offer a young and creative environment as well, with benefits such as remote work and flexible hours, chic offices with free meals and more.

However, when recruiting employees who are not accustomed to working in a startup environment, it is important to explain all of the aspects of the role, the good and the bad. Some candidates may not understand that remote work may mean that they will have to be at their employer’s disposal after working hours and that free meals are offered because often there’s no time for a lunch break. They should be presented with the flexible nature of their role as well, which can change as the company grows. If there’s complete transparency during hiring, there’s a higher chance of retention.

  1. Sticking to Traditional Questions During Interviews

Everyone knows the standard “why should we hire you”, “where do you see yourself in 5 years” and “what is your biggest weakness” questions. While this can help big corporations assess candidates and reach a decision regarding their capabilities, startups should adopt a different method. As we’ve mentioned, their unique work setting requires a person that is more flexible, resilient and will stick with the company, even when times get hard. 

Instead of the cliché questions, try and create an honest conversation, where you ask the candidate exactly what you need to know about them for them to succeed. Give them room to get all of the information from you as well, to assess whether it’s the right role for them or not.

  1. Refusing to Analyze Past Mistakes 

Learning from past mistakes is a powerful tool, one that large organizations use on a regular basis when it comes to recruiting. If you do not sit down and try to assess what’s not working with your hiring, you are doomed to end up with the wrong employees, a high turnover rate or with no new employees at all.

A great tool is HR Analytics, which will help you pinpoint if you are using the right platforms for posting your vacancies, if you’re losing candidates during the waiting period, if your onboarding needs adjusting, and more. Even if you are not ready to invest in analytics, something as simple as asking your candidates for feedback (about the interview, the application process, etc.) can help you improve the procedure and ensure you make better hires.

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