How to Hire Employees For Your Startup

Hey readers! Happy Easter/April Fool’s Day.

Welcome to EH weekly, where you can look forward to insightful lessons and practical takeaways delivered to your inbox every Monday.

In this week’s edition, we discuss:

  • The best strategies for hiring employees for your startup

  • The key truths founders are afraid to face (but really need to)

How to hire employees for your startup

Hiring is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur can have, but it is also one of the hardest to develop.

Thankfully, Aaron Dinin shares some useful advice about hiring he learned during his 20+ years of building startups. Hopefully, this knowledge helps you to skip some of the more painful parts of the learning curve. 

  1. Trust, but verify — Trusting your gut is important, but it’s equally important to verify any claims your potential hires make on their resumes or in conversation. This means checking references, validating past employment, and, if relevant, confirming educational credentials.

  2. Look for learners — Don’t prioritize current skill sets as much as learning agility. Hiring someone who can learn anything will prevent you from having to keep finding new talent when the needs for your startup change. And they will change.

  3. Cultural fit matters — A hire who aligns beautifully with your startup’s values, work ethic, and vision for the future will certainly be more productive, engaged, and loyal. Skills can be taught, but attitudes and values are often ingrained.

  4. Diversity is a strength — All kinds of diversity on your team will challenge the biases you have (we all do!) and help you see past your blind spots in ways that will make your company more successful.

  5. The best hire isn’t the most obvious — Be open to these less conventional candidates; their unique viewpoints and eagerness to prove themselves will become one of your startup’s greatest assets.

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The key truths founders are afraid to face

In her years spent building, selling, killing, and advising countless startups, Rachel Greenberg has learned five pieces of entrepreneurial wisdom you need to read. 

Though these five truths won’t necessarily offer a one-size-fits-all silver bullet playbook for turning any idea into a million bucks, they will offer some underrated truths that might guide you toward a lucrative, fulfilling, long-lasting startup career.

  1. You can be selfish and frivolous — Many entrepreneurs think they can change the world. Many more will waste years trying, failing, and ultimately making a much smaller impact than if they’d monetized a less pivotal, less impressive venture that brought customers just enough joy to turn a profit. Simply put, you’re allowed to be selfish and frivolous as an entrepreneur — so long as there’s a market of similarly selfish or frivolous people who want what you’re selling.

  2. Forget delayed gratification — If you defer rewards forever (or until you “make it big”, sell your company, or IPO), you may flame out along the way. Gratification is one of the few glimpses of non-startup-related joy many people need to motivate them through the challenges and pitfalls of building any company.

  3. You can’t run from fear — You can’t avoid fear or evade your entrepreneurial problems indefinitely. The best bet is to rip off that Band-Aid and face the issue once and for all or, if that’s more unbearable than the M&A process of finding a buyer and offloading your company, it may be time for a strategic exit.

  4. When you’re bored, move on — Waning passion often coincides with boredom, unfulfillment, and resentment. Once you’re bored by your startup and view it more like an annoying chore than an invigorating pursuit, you’re likely short-changing your own potential.

  5. You need more than just your startup — If you’re myopically focused on your one startup and making it work at all costs, there’s a very good chance there are some major blind spots. If the consequences of those blind spots coincide with a business challenge or a down season, they just might implode your entire life and business when you can least afford it.

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