from Manage WP 27 Mar 13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz5biz 3/14
In what has been the two year history of ManageWP [Word Press] a Blog App] so far, the most mistakes I have made were regarding hiring. I often relied too much on the Candidate’s test scores or was in a hurry to hire. I inevitably made some bad decisions. However, we are a more mature & stable company now and I have learned from my mistakes. In this post, I want to go through the successful process I follow, for recruiting new hires. If you are working on your own startup or plan to in the future, these are the key things to keep in mind when hiring.
1. Define your Startup’s Mission & Values. It took me a while to realize that the goal of a company is not to make $ money $, but to fulfill a Mission. The way you fulfill your Mission is to have your Values defined and surround yourself with the people who share those values. Your primary goal when hiring is to end up with someone whose personality & outlook aligns with your values. When you have a Mission & set of Values that you firmly believe in, you get an extra ‘detector’ (or Benchmark) when interviewing candidates and should be able to ‘feel’ which ones fit.
2. Poor Spelling & Grammar are a Filter. I am still amazed by the number of spelling and grammar errors I see in candidate CVs. Your CV (Curriculum Vitae – similar to a Resume) is your one shot at getting a job. You are supposed to give your best at it. Make the best possible impression. Someone who hasn’t even seen fit to ‘proof-read’ their CV is someone I do not want to work with. I like to hire people who care about details.
3. Have the Candidates present themselves to the Entire Team. Ask the candidates to prepare a short presentation about them selves and their past experience. Have them present this in front of your entire team. This will serve as a stern test of their ability to operate effectively under pressure and give you an insight into their character. For instance, do they have a sense of humor (always good in a startup)? Do they display symptoms of excessive anxiety? You’re hiring a person, not a robot, so it is key to make note of their human attributes.
4. Look for Optimists & those with an Attitude. In any startup, things will inevitably go wrong at times, so try to surround yourself with optimistic people. That will make hard days easier to cope with. Also look for those with a strong attitude (any attitude is better than none). If the guy on the other side of the desk is brilliant, but you can not imagine having a drink with them one day, it’s probably not going to work.
5. Ask yourself Choice-Maker Questions. Over the time I have compiled a list of questions that help detect Hires versus Fires (er, non-Hires). Take time to ask yourself the following questions during an interview:
a) Would I like this person to lead one of the teams one day?
b) Would I be upset if they left for the competition?
c) “Kindergarten test”: Do they play along nicely with the others? Are they curious?
d) Are they a Self-Starter? Will they let you know when they run into problems?
e) If I had to sit next to them for several hours on a long flight, would it be interesting?
f) Would I invest my money in their startup?
g) Will they help me achieve the company’s mission?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No” then it’s probably not going to work.
6. Close the interview with a Yes or No. If at the end of the interview you do not have a clear yes or no, you have not prepared well enough. The decision to hire should be made by the time the Candidate is ready to leave. Basically the choice is “Yes” and everything else (“maybe”, “we’ll think about it”) should be taken as a “No.” It’s too pivotal a decision to feel unsure about.
7. Have a Referral Program. Nothing works as good for hiring as referrals from your current employees. Since these are the people who have already passed your tests & fit into your company’s Vision, it is likely that their friends will too. Have a referral program that rewards anyone who refers a friend you end up hiring. This does not have to be a huge sum (we have a $1,000 referral award) but it should be made clear that you endorse hiring in this way.
Comments: What do you like, when Interviewing?