Question: Hiring first employees for a start-up

With a limited budget, many "nice sounding ideas" are not really practical for startups.

- What are the key characteristics that founders should look for while hiring the first 3-5 employees?
- Where should they look to be most effective with their time (and no HR processes)?

Expert Insight

First and foremost ... FLEXIBILITY.  A new company in unable to strictly define  how much time will be spent doing various tasks related to the new organization.  Although one does want to hire a variety of knowledge and strengths that they know they will require, they can ill-afford to hire those who are rigid in terms of what they are willing to do.  Often-time the greatest success of a launch team comes in the form of skilled 'generalists'.

Second ... Team mentality found in those who believe that their personal success will come as a result of the 'teams' success.  There is no place in the start-up for a silo-ed mentality.  Believing that 1 + 1 =s 3 and working in that manner is of extreme value and critical when traveling down a path of many unknowns

Creating interview questions that will allow the candidate to reveal their personal attitudes toward the cooperative spirit and effort that will be required especially in at start-up will definitely enhance the chance one will find the right people

Mike Dorman
The Third Zone