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Hiring for Startups

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[edit] A hiring problem for startups

Small business owners many times hire people they know and trust, especially during startup and early growth years. This can include personal friends, family members and relatives. It is common to encounter several problems with this hiring practice:

  • These friends, family members and relatives may or may not be qualified for the position they fill in the organization. They were hired based on knowledge and trust by the owner, not necessarily because they were matched by their skills and experience to a job description.
  • The owner may find it awkward and difficult to objectively and transparently manage these people due to their historical personal relationships.
  • If for any reason a friend, family member or relative needs their position or responsibilities changed or even let go this is very difficult for most owners.

[edit] Hiring 101 - Best Practices

  1. Write a job description before you hire:
  2. Always have more than one choice before you hire.
    • More choices help you think through better what you really need to fill the position. You learn from reviewing resumes and interviewing multiple candidates.
    • Multiple hiring choices creates a broader pool of candidates and enhances the odds of finding the best choice for the position.
  3. If you are going to hire a friend, family or relative ask yourself these questions:
    • Has your relationship included working on a job with this person and does that lead you to believe this can work?
    • If you had to manage poor performance or mistakes would you be able to do that as you would other employees?
    • Would you be able to fire this friend, family member or relative if that was important for the company to move forward?
    • If you hire a friend, family member or relative have and upfront discussion on how performance that is not up to expectation or the need to make company changes would be handled. The goal is to gain understanding and concurrence of these scenarios and establish a professional basis for their employment.
  4. Match the right person for the right job.
  5. Use multiple people in your organization to do interviews (may be especially helpful deciding on a friend, relative or family member).
  6. Review performance measurements with job candidates

[edit] Related Best Practices

[edit] Other Resources

[edit] Author

The author of this article is Terry Gardiner.

Terry Gardiner is the founder and President of Silver Lining Seafoods and NorQuest Seafoods - a medium size Alaska seafood processing companies; and currently Board member of the Anvil Corporation, an employee owned company specializing in oil and gas engineering.

His co-operative experiences include member director of the Commercial Fishermen Co-operative association; creation of legislation for the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank; and advisor to the US Dept of Health and Social Services for the state Health CO-OPs.

Terry served ten years as a member of the Alaska House of Representatives -several legislative committee chairmanships, Speaker of the House, Chairman of the Alaska Criminal Code Commission and board member on various state and federal boards and commissions.

His non-profit experiences include National Policy Director for the Small Business Majority in Washington DC; working with the Herndon Alliance and ForTerra.

Terry authored the leadership book, "Six-Word Lessons to Build Effective Leaders: 100 Lessons to Equip Your People to Create Winning Organizations".

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