Boss Lady

Entrepreneurs share their advice for hiring


Solo businesses can be fun for a while, but if you really want to make an impact on the world, you’ll need to expand your operation beyond just one person or a couple of partners. Hiring a new employee, however, can be a little tricky. Don’t worry, though: it’s something that millions of people have had to do over the years, so there’s a lot of advice out there from those that have succeeded.

Don’t hire a version of yourself

A major problem in today’s businesses is something called “hiring bias.” It’s the idea that businesses tend to hire people who are most like the person doing the hiring, which in this case is you. But Brittany Hodak, and entrepreneur who founded ZinePak, says that hiring a mini version of yourself is a bad idea. This is because businesses don’t need a bunch of people with the same skills: to be successful they need to be able to deploy a people with a range of skills. For instance, if you’re not the most sociable person, then it’s probably not a good idea to employ an introvert who hates the company of others. A much better strategy would be to find somebody who could go out and represent the business in person effectively.

Consider contract work

John Rood is the founder of an education company. He says that employer insurance is essential, whether you’re employing an employee or working with a contractor. He favors, contractors, however, because they tend to have a lower impact on your cashflow. Plus, he says, you aren’t under pressure to employ them full-time and find work for them to do even when the work isn’t really available.

Hire slow

Bad hires are something that afflicts even the best startups. They’re a fact of life, it seems. However, Bill Lyons who founded an investment firm, says that one-way startups can minimize their risks is to hire slow. In practice, this means following the basics. Do a background check he says to make sure that they don’t have a criminal record. He also suggests that you do a behavioral assessment that complements the type of culture you want to create. Can candidates fit into your working environment?

Finally, Lyons says to use multiple methods, including auditions, shadow working, and different interview styles. This, he says, helps you to get to know a person much better.

Be honest about what you need

Many entrepreneurs feel the urge to over-promise candidates about the role that they want them to fill. They make a career with them sound glamorous when the reality is rather different. It’s always best to be honest and upfront about what exactly the job will entail says Maren Hogan, a media executive. She points that employees who don’t get what they expect will be a lot less happy than those who have their expectations managed.

She also says that owners shouldn’t interview people when they desperately need them. Instead, they should interview before their services become essential to give themselves more time to find the right candidate.

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