Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How To Hire The Right Leaders For Your Startup

How To Hire The Right Leaders For Your StartupHiring leaders in any company can be a challenge.  Hiring the wrong leader can cost the company a lot of money and waste a lot of time and production.  When it comes to hiring leaders for your startup company, hiring the wrong person can be detrimental.

Success states that “of all the people who get hired in the next 18 months, 46 percent will fail.”  This means that companies are missing something during the hiring process, whether it’s assessing the candidate’s experience, motivation, ability to learn, or by not explaining the job accurately to the candidate.

When hiring leaders, there are several things you can do to ensure that you have done your part by asking the right questions and providing the right information.

Interview Process

Your interview process when it comes to interviewing a leader is going to differ from the standard interview process.  Typically, the process will be longer and there will be multiple interviews in different locations with different people on your team.  As Startup Smart recommends, the last thing you want to do is jump the gun and hire the first leader you interview because no one else is available.  Take your time and make sure you find the right person.

You will want to have a mix of interviews in your office as well as possibly a meeting over a cup of coffee.  I would also recommend that you have a dinner interview with the candidate, as this will allow you to observe how the candidate acts towards the waiter or waitress.

You would be surprised how meeting for coffee or for dinner or lunch will help the candidate to relax.  When this happens, the true colors shine through and you are able to better evaluate the candidate’s people skills, as noted by Success.

Interview Questions

When conducting the interview, I recommend you portray the style and culture of your company.  If your startup is laid back and relaxed, then your interview should reflect that style.

Don’t be afraid to start out asking the candidate a few questions about themselves, but also make sure you tell the candidate a little bit about the company and your story.  You can transition into this by asking, “What do you know about our company so far?”  This also allows you to see how much research the candidate has completed before the interview.

Keep the interview very conversational.  Stay away from the fire-drill question style of interview and simply converse with the candidate, sharing information about you and the company, while observing the candidate’s response and actions.  Occasionally throw in a question, as Startup Smart suggests.

Experience and Values

Most startups need leaders who not only have leadership experience, but who also have experience as a hands-on leader.  When your company is in startup mode, you need to have more doers versus thinkers, as Startup Smart recommends.  Having a leader on your team who is not afraid of getting into the trenches and working with the rest of the team is key to the success of your startup.

When assessing a leader’s experience, you want to look at not only the hard skills, but also the soft skills.  The ability to be flexible and think quickly on their feet is a must have, as well as the ability to stay positive and keep the troops on track even during the bad times.

Finally, when interviewing leaders, make sure that you have thoroughly assessed their values and goals.  One way to ensure a bad hire is to hire someone whose values are not in line with your company’s.

How do you ensure that you are hiring the right leaders?  Please share your tips in the comments below. 

Check out our FREE eBook: Video Interviewing for Startup Hiring

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Julia Weeks

Julia is a skilled Recruiter with over 8 years of experience in sourcing, interviewing, and hiring within many industries globally. She works closely with hiring managers and job seekers to understand needs and desires, while offering guidance and ensuring the right fit. When not recruiting or writing, Julia enjoys spending time outside cycling, taking her dog for walks, or honing her sailing skills.

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