There is a definite art to finding the right person for your open job. When a person walks into your office for an interview, you're talking to someone who may be your colleague for years to come, someone who could one day play an integral role in your business. When hiring, you need to pay careful attention to every potential employee who crosses your path.
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Here are some tips to help you determine whether or not each person who walks through the door is the right person, as well as some perspectives on the characteristics that the best potential employees should have:
1. Hire Employees Who Understand Your Company's Audience
Every company, whether it is making a product or selling a service, has a target audience. If you're bringing on a candidate, you want to make sure the person you hire understands the ideal person toward whom your business is geared.
The best candidate for a job should be able to demonstrate a real knowledge of, care for, and investment in the desires and needs of the business's target customers – whoever they are, wherever they are. Candidates like this are the people who can bring the right kind of suggestions and ideas to the table when they're in the role.
2. Look for Diversity When Hiring
Whether you are located in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, or the Midwest, it's important to consider diversity in hiring. Thinking about diversity along a variety of different lines is a great way to ensure that your company doesn't get stuck in a rut and can come at problems from multiple creative perspectives.
3. Hire Employees Who Are Curious
Curiosity is one of the most important traits to look for in a potential employee. When candidates walk into an interview, they should be digging into what drives the company, asking why, and trying to learn the reasons behind why your company operates the way it does.
If a person comes to an interview wanting to know as much as they can about how the company operates and what the company's goals are, they're going to hit the ground running when they get to work. A candidate who asks a lot of questions about a company demonstrates the desire to know and the dedication to learn.
4. Hire Candidates Who Are Not Easily Fazed
Any environment, whether a small startup or a big enterprise, can be highly stressful at different times for different reasons. It is important to look for candidates who aren't easily rattled. A cool head is always important, and it's a characteristic you'll want in anyone who joins your business.
5. Hire People Who Believe in the Big Vision
In business, a person needs to have passion. This is especially true in the startup world, where a few individuals try to carve out their own niche in an often difficult market. It's not easy for everyone to see the endgame when they're in the thick of it, pulling long hours and wearing many different hats. But for a startup, you want the kind of people who can see it.
When a small business launches, it's not always easy for those on the inside to communicate the long-term vision to those who aren't on board yet. A good candidate must be able to see this vision as clearly as the people who launched the business do, and they must be able to visualize the market and the long-term payoff.
If a candidate comes in with an enthusiastic and passionate vision of where your business is going – and their vision aligns with your own – then they are definitely a candidate to keep at the top of your mind.
Shift Your Hiring Attitude as Your Company Grows
When a company starts, it often needs jack-of-all-trade employees. As a business scales, it often needs to fill more specialized roles.
Your business needs – and therefore your hiring needs – are going to change as your business grows. Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you're looking for when you sit down to establish a role. As your business grows, make sure that you're moving toward the specialized talent you need, even if those candidates aren't the multitaskers who would have been lifesavers during the company's first phase.
Alex Betancur is a cofounder of Lucktastic.