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Five Hiring Mistakes Founders Make and How to Avoid Them


· startups,resource,Founders

Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions, and a healthy dose of curiosity.” - Richard Branson

All founders will experience the joy of talent acquisition. Hiring is challenging and can be a daunting exercise for anyone. The stakes of hiring are high, and if not executed properly, could be disastrous and costly.

Founders know that hiring an employee who is not a good fit can negatively impact your team's productivity, morale, and client relationships. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hire is up to 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings or between $17,000 and $240,000 (depending on the employee's position and skills). Founders must do what they can to minimize the risk of making a bad hire. If they do not, it could impact their company’s future success.  

Infographic of the Impact of a Bad Hire

Image source: Siliconstaffing

Five Talent Acquisition Mistakes:

1. Not understanding resume vs. role requirements vs. culture

According to Forbes, not knowing whom you need is a top mistake that first-time entrepreneurs encounter. Do you know the role your team needs to fill? What is your team's culture? It's recommended that you consider how a candidate fits with the culture over their qualifications. Look beyond a candidate's resume. Save yourself a headache down the road.

2. Not being prepared for the interview

“Why do I have to prepare for the interview? I’m the one doing the hiring?” You may be asking yourself this very question. We all know founders are very busy, and time is a precious commodity. Another mistake that founders often make is not properly preparing to conduct an interview. Read the resume and tailor questions for the candidate. Ensure there is a space or call set up. Make sure the rest of your hiring team is prepared.

3. Hiring friends and family

It might be appealing to hire friends or relatives. So much fun! You already know their work ethic. You know you like them. And, you know their skill set. Just beware. You may end up sacrificing quality and productivity to avoid firing them. An option other than hiring your sister or best friend is to get them to help spread the word about your work. Get them to volunteer.

4. Forgetting to check references

Not checking candidates’ references is a common mistake many first-time entrepreneurs make. Professional References can be a valuable source of information about the candidate’s abilities and how they will perform or behave. They help confirm or validate the information from the interview or resume. Even though checking references can be time-consuming, it is an essential step in helping you make a thoughtful and purposeful hiring decision. This is a task the founder doesn’t have to do and is a great way to engage other leaders already on the team.

5. Hiring a “jack of all trades”

As a founder, it might make sense to hire someone who's comfortable with wearing multiple hats, a.k.a; a” jack of all trades”. It can be great to have employees who will step out of their box and help the team with projects - you can still hire for flexibility. Just think it through. If you need to fill a business development role, hire someone who best suits that specific role. Your team will thank you in the long run.

Hiring is critical to running a company, which every entrepreneur must do. It can be an arduous task or it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences. Founders can experience satisfaction watching their startup grow, knowing they made smart hiring decisions from the start.

Additional Hiring Resources for Founders:

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