Before you start hiring

Having a great team is crucial to the success of any company. But we often get so obsessed with hiring that we forget to ask some fundamental questions first.

Are you sure you want to hire?

Premature or rapid hiring can lead to several problems. For early stage startups, it can even be lethal due to the following reasons:

  • Making hires for short term: Before product-market fit, it’s hard to know what kind of people you really need. Should your sales be inbound or outbound? Will our needs outgrow our current tech stack? Hiring on short terms assumptions leads to hiring of misfits which can cause high damage by the time you realize and fix the problem.
  • Less agility: Every hire adds value but also is an increased overhead. There is a bigger need for communication and keeping them focused and motivated. All of this can eat up precious time of your core team.
  • Rapid increase in burn rate: More people is not just more salaries. You also need a bigger office, a fatter internet connection, some more parking space, more book keeping, more policy making, bigger expenses for things like laptops and power backups and so on.
  • Culture risk: Hiring can expose your culture to newer risks. People subconsciously get influenced and affected by people around them. For instance, we had an employee who just didn’t push as hard as others on the team did. It started affecting the newer members of the team very subtly. Fortunately we fixed this problem before it could cause real damage.

If you’re in doubt, don’t hire. Remember – the best startups are always lean, especially at the start of their journey. Having fewer, but solid people reduces overhead ad makes you lean. Henry Ward from eShares , one of the very successful startups in the US says puts it:

Hiring means we failed to execute and need helpHiring is not a consequence of success. Revenue and customers are. Hiring is a consequence of our failure to create enough leverage to grow on our own. Starting with me, every human thereafter is overhead.

What kind of people I need on my team?

So you’re sure about hiring, great. Before you scramble to make the job description, take a bit of pause. People come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re not sure exactly what kind of person you’re looking for, you will likely get lost in the entire process.

One thing we always do before hiring at CutShort is to do that job ourselves first. For example, we often thought of hiring a Business Development kind of a person. When we started exploring people who carry this job title, we discovered many shades of the skills. To get clarity, we took the job upon ourselves first. In a week we realized exactly what activities we would need to do and were able to refine the requirements based on our unique needs.

What if you can’t do the job yourself? Like when you can’t design or write code? Well, you still need to get someone to do the job in short term – may be get a friend or hire a freelancer.

In the end, no matter what you do – hiring can always surprise you. There will be huge successes and may be disappointing failures. Every company learns from them and carves out their own formula of doing it right.

Hope you find our soon. If you already have, let us know in comments!

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