Very, very carefully.
Hiring people is the biggest, most challenging decision a business owner has to make. This is even more true for entrepreneurs starting new companies.
When hiring people, there are two ways to do it:
- Build a core, passionate team.
- Or don’t.
Very few people would admit to choosing #2 as an approach, but lots of companies do exactly that — they hire for reasons other than passion and fit. How many companies start with salary as the key decision point for hiring someone?
Companies don’t put enough stock in the importance of building a real team; they focus on getting people on board with the right qualifications at the right price and that’s it. It’s an easy trap to fall into because it’s an easier way to hire. And when your company is growing fast and doing well, and you’ve got more work than you know what to do with, to heck with building a core team…you need warm bodies at desks!
The end result of building a team without really thinking about the team is usually not a good one. Higher turnover. Dissatisfaction at work. Lower productivity.
A core team of passionate, true believers will always go the extra mile for each other and by extension the company they work for. People will stay at jobs they dislike if they love the team.
The problem with hiring the right people is that it takes a lot longer. You have to be prepared to invest a good chunk of time in the process — finding candidates, interviewing them, testing them, trying them out — it’s more akin to dating than anything else; there’s a dating dance or ritual that has to take place.
But the payoff is enormous. This is especially true for startups – those first few hires are going to be key ones. Those people are practically partners. You need them to stick it out through thick and thin, and be as devoted as possible. You need them to create the culture and spirit for future hires. You need them evangelizing the business. You need them taking ownership. You need them to be the driving force of success.
It’s a tall order, which is why you need to invest the time, thought and energy into hiring people properly. And you always need to focus on building a great team, not a bunch of people connected together by the fact that they work in the same office.