Top five staff characteristics needed in your start-up

By Dorota Dopierala
Monday, 03 December 2012

Tfeature-recruitmenthe workforce of a company is one of its greatest investments. Top-notch companies are well aware that continuously making investments in training their employees is crucial.


Still, having an excellent team right from the beginning helps save from considerable costs and brings forth the greatest impact.


It's not easy to find the right staff. It's arguably a tricky and challenging process, particularly for start-up companies with a tight hiring budget.


Nonetheless, there are huge benefits that come with proper investment in both time and resources.


Your start-up can have a higher growth potential and become more profitable in the long haul.


Acquiring top talent early on will add more energy, capability, innovation, and passion that will make your team highly competitive in today's ever-changing marketplace.


A recent phenomenon that proves the immense importance of talent is known as "acqui-hire," which involves large and mid-size companies seizing start-ups primarily to get top talent.


If you're in the process of hiring employees, here are the chief characteristics that you should consider so you can find the right people to add to your team:



1. Creative and willing to take risks


New, innovative ideas are what make a start-up successful. Start-ups are created because entrepreneurs have fresh concepts to share.


What your company needs are employees who are risk-takers and have the ability to think outside the box.


Creativity spurs the success of start-ups so you have to recruit individuals who are open to modern paradigms of thinking.


To promote a creative work setting, you could highlight your company's creative solutions on your career website.


You could also make a catchy recruitment video. It's important to let candidates know that your company is a motivating workplace where innovation and ingenious ideas are rewarded well.


Many candidates these days utilize creative application methods such as social media campaigns to showcase their skills, hence improving their candidacy.


It's best to embrace these new application ways to amass top talent. Make sure to look through each application thoroughly to assess how the candidates are representing themselves.



2. Flexible and versatile


Start-ups have a very dynamic environment. Markets constantly change and products evolve; thus, it's essential to make job descriptions fluid enough to adjust to such changes.


You have to find people who are highly adaptable and willing to undertake new challenges and not employees with "beyond my job description" syndrome.


Make sure that your job description is carefully laid out before announcing the open position to online platforms.


The description should emphasize the need for flexibility in handling various job functions. Come up with a list of targeted questions to help you sort out through candidates.


Rigid applicants will most likely avoid applying for the position once they know that they will have to adjust beyond the stated responsibilities.


When it's time for interviews, ask about the short-term and long-term plans of the applicants, and find out about their career expectations throughout this period.


A person with a highly structured outlook of their career within five years may experience difficulties in dealing with the daily adjustments required in start-up living.


Go for someone who has high potential but exudes enthusiasm and versatility to take on different roles.


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3. Passionate


Passion is one of the foundations of most start-ups. It's obviously painstaking and time-consuming to start a company; but if you have genuine passion for what you do, then the sacrifices will be well worth it, and the benefits will outweigh the obstacles you hurdle along the way.


Find people who will truly love and enjoy their job. People who are passionate about their craft will put in as much effort as they can to accomplish tasks.


They will be a lot more productive than those who consider their job as laborious, tiring, and undesirable.


Check out their social media profiles. Read their blogs, tweets, and news feeds. What do they talk about and share to the world?


Your ideal candidate would be keen on news and information related to your industry.


People who actually spend time contemplating and talking about the industry outside working hours are more likely to be passionate with their work.



4. Straightforward and trustworthy


A lot of start-ups start with small, humble beginnings and then thrive into a larger company later on.


This implies that you will have to spend many hours together with the staff you hire, and you'll be having them in your company for a long time.


Thus, you need to select employees who are honest about their skills as well as limitations.


The last thing you want is to end up working with someone who actually provided bogus qualifications during the application process.


Be sure to check the information provided on each candidate's resume and social media profile. Steer clear of applicants who couldn't back up their information.


Watch out for false bravado during the interview. You want candidates who are trustworthy, honest, and realistic, and not those who brag pompously without being able to follow through.


The business realm is filled with such types of employees and leaders. What you need are talented individuals whom you can fully trust to get any job done right.



5. Communicative


You need employees with excellent communication skills as it's important to communicate well with internal and external stakeholders.


Bad communicators are detrimental to your start-up, whereas good communicators can open up new opportunities for your start-up to grow.


A great way to examine the communication abilities of potential applicants is through social media recruiting. It may involve engaging the candidates in an online talent group so you can better evaluate their skills. It's also necessary to speak to them vis-a-vis.


Compared to more established companies, start-ups have unique hiring needs. Forming the right combination of talent can make or break your business.


Keep an open mind when hiring your staff, and consider a diverse set of characteristics. By devoting time and effort into the initial team-building phase of your start-up, you'll surely reap massive benefits in the future.


Dorota Dopierala is the founder and managing director of nuclei recuitment, a specialist digital media recruitment agency based in Sydney.


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Comments (2)

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Great advice Dorota, I see to often that hiring managers are focussed too much on specific technical abilities rather than mindset and character. It's easy to teach the technical abilities but it's incredibly difficult to influence someone's character.
Dave Martin , December 04, 2012
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Recruiting for roles in search/social is difficult, mostly due to there being more roles than candidates. But also it's still quite a niche industry. For those that I take on at a junior level these are some of the exact soft skills I look for. As Dave says above it's possible to teach the technical side but the soft skills are much harder to develop and a far longer term development process. Good article.
Alex A , December 05, 2012
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