HR Considerations for Startups

Sometimes startup entrepreneurs are so worried about working capital that they forget how important human capital is in a company’s early stages. Keenly aware of this oversight after helping IW companies secure talent, IW’s Human Resources Strategist, Kathy Mitchell, came in to remind our companies of the importance of HR considerations in growing a successful company. With the sentiment that she “can do as much good talking a company out of the wrong hire, than getting them the right one,” here are a few common pitfalls Kathy warned our entrepreneurs about regarding hiring decisions.

Your first hire doesn’t have to be exactly like you

Kathy often notices that a CEO’s first hire tends to be a person similar to themselves. While this can work well, it often will throw off a company’s balance. For example, if you’re a talker, you may need a good listener. If you’re a do-er, you may need someone to concentrate on more tedious tasks.

Above all, you need to hire someone who will make your team “whole” and bring something to the team—whether it be experience, skills, attributes, or a network–that you or your coworkers don’t have.

Hire people with the potential to grow

If you couldn’t see your developer becoming your future CTO, he/she may not be the right hire at this stage in your company.

Be leery of hiring friends or relatives

Although it seems like it’d be fun to work with your friends and significant others (I realize not everyone feels this way), for the above reasons and others, sometimes these aren’t necessarily the best hires. And, aside from people suspecting you of employing nepotism, things can get messy (and awkward) pretty quickly.

Realize the difference between hard-wired and soft-wired attributes

While some things can be honed through a week-long seminar, some attributes–like leadership–are innate. As Kathy says, “Do you think someone taught Bill Clinton and Obama how to be great leaders?” Realize this going in so you’re not disappointed when later on, the hire you made that you thought you could turn into a leader, isn’t becoming one.

Have any other hiring tips you’ve found to be helpful? Pitfalls to avoid? Share with us in the comments section below.

Image via Flickr/Lodge28