One of the hardest but most exciting things about being a entrepreneur, or first-time business owner, is the hiring process. There are several things founders should consider before green-lighting new startup employees.
Here’s a brief look at three startup hiring questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge:
Do you really need another employee?
When you’re first starting a business, you may consider hiring a new employee when: (a) you have pushed your own limits of how much you can work in a day or (b) you must hire for skills you simply don’t have and the time spent learning a specific skill would not be worth the investment.
Ask yourself, “How many hours do I put in on a daily basis? How much work do I complete to spur my business?” Now duplicate yourself. Is there actually enough work to be done that would justify the added expense? Would this new role offer enough work that it would preclude boredom throughout the day?
If you simply don’t have a necessary skill, rethink the aspect of your business that it pertains to. Is there anyone else on the team that has this skill? Is the task absolutely core to your business? If yes, then hire. If not, then hold off until absolutely necessary.
Should you hire immediately, or with a trial period?
Companies onboard new hires in different ways. Some startups hire staff, such as developers, on a Friday as salaried employees and ask them to be at work on Monday — given their skill set is definite and essential. For instance, you cant have engineers working from Starbucks while writing all of your code to improve security on your site.
Hiring your business team works differently. Many of these jobs rely on long-term objectives and relationships that take time to build, combined with measurable ROI. For example, at MySocialCloud, we help employees transition with a two-week “trial period.” We dole out basic tasks and actionable items during the period. After two weeks, we complete an evaluation process to consider:
Did they complete the actionable tasks? How well were the tasks completed? Did they go above and beyond the role assigned? Did they, as ambitiously display initiative?
If all of the assigned tasks are completed at a level that exceeds your expectation, it’s time to hire! But before you do, interview a lot of candidates. At the very least, the process gives you a perspective on who not to hire and helps you hone in on the qualities and skills necessary for the role.
Do you offer equity? If so, when and how much?
When it comes to equity in a new company, there are two primary pitfalls startups should avoid. One is the overly generous mentality. Some first-time founders hand out equity indiscriminately to every new employee, people that have shared advice or those that taken a meeting. Never do this! An equity stake in your company should be vested and only be given to people who really contribute (e.g. co-founders, a technical lead, etc.).
In contrast the “hoarding” mentality may be prevalent. Some founders who know what their companies are worth want to have it all. Don’t be this person, either. Startup equity is meaningless unless your team makes it worth something — you can’t build a business alone.
Stacey Ferreira co-founded MySocialCloud, a technology startup that allows people to store their usernames and passwords for all their online websites for auto-login and share websites with friends easily, during her senior year of high school with her brother, Scott. When she was just 18, she raised a seed round of funding of just under $1 million from Sir Richard Branson and Jerry Murdock.