Friday 1 September 2023

6 hiring mistakes to avoid at all costs

6 hiring mistakes to avoid.

1. Hiring by pedigree only. Recently I was talking to a friend who hired a 10+ year experienced IITian from one of their large competitors for their early-stage 10-member startup. She didn't interview the candidate properly and no wonder it was a disaster. She blindly trusted the pedigree of the candidate - IITian and past experience at a unicorn and obviously it didn't work out for her. IITians are not always smart. I'm sad to say that some of them have a lot of arrogance and ego. If you're hiring for an early-stage startup, you want people who can get their hands dirty and get things done. Focus on that rather than just the pedigree of the candidate.

2. Hiring from really large companies. If you are an early-stage startup, it's generally not a good idea to hire people who are working at the opposite end, which is, large and funded companies. Early-stage Startups require generalists. Large companies require specialists. If you mix the 2, you might end up hiring a candidate who is misaligned.

3. Not having clarity of the Job Description. So many founders build an 'approximate' job description. I think half of the job is done if you just spend time nailing the job description well so that the candidate, and you, both have clarity on what is expected of the job role and what isn't. Be as clear as possible on various parameters like the background of the candidate, experience, competencies, etc.

4. Not doing reference checks, especially for senior roles. So many startups just interview candidates and take a bet. While the bet may go well, there is a chance that the bet completely goes wrong. By doing reference checks, you can significantly increase the chance of the bet going right. Reference checks help you verify that whatever the candidate told in the interview, is indeed true. Trust, but verify.

5. Not interviewing the candidate properly. A lot of Founders just talk to the candidate at a high level rather than digging deep into their behavior, competencies, skills, beliefs, values, etc. So many founders do the talking themselves rather than listening to the candidate. Don't do that. Your job in an interview is to let the candidate speak so that you get to understand them better.

6. Not spending time on employer branding. Today, candidates look at the online presence of the company. They look at Glassdoor, LinkedIn pages, and founders' profiles before even applying. If you don't have decent employer branding, you're sure to lose out on good candidates. As a founder, you should go and share your thoughts online so that people get to know you better.

Important note: There are exceptions to all the above points. These are broad guidelines and not thumb rules. There are no thumb rules in Business. Whatever works for 1 company may not work for others. Use these broad guidelines to experiment and figure out what works best for your startup and apply the learnings accordingly to improve your hiring.

I have shared a lot of my learnings about Business and Entrepreneurship on my YouTube Channel. Please check it here:

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