Tips to Ponder while Hiring the Management Team for Startup

By | December 29, 2015


At an initial stage, a startup would consist not more than founders and small team of employees. The company may make a decent business with the team, it may be cost-effective and comfortable but it cannot go on with handful of employees for long. When the business plans to expand or to scale it definitely needs a strong management team. Not only to facilitate with expansion plans but also to raise funds. Senior managers on the team will be able to manage all the critical areas of the business and avoid pitfalls. Foremost thing to consider in building up a team is to ensure to match jobs to people’s strengths. It is vital to have a chief executive officer (CEO), chief operational officer (COO), President, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), chief marketing officer (CMO), chief technology officer (CTO) depending on the demands of the business model.  But how to hire them? Many young entrepreneurs are not aware of how to hire the right management team. To ensure the task is being done right and optimize C-level hiring process, consider the tips discussed below.

Management team

*Hire smart people:
Until the management team is completely formed, it is always the founder or the co-founder who makes the decisions. However, his or her decision may not be always right. It is important to have great talent with trustworthy perspectives and experiences to excel as best leaders. For this, it is important to hire smart people who are even smarted than the founding team. Smart hires can bring in different viewpoints, suggestions to the business. One person cannot possibly be excellent in everything. Only teams can work towards overall excellence with their complementary parts that any weakness are offset by another person’s strength.

*Look at their experience:
Experience of the personnel plays a major role in selection. Hiring key personnel with a brilliant track record and immense experience add to the payroll ledger but they add value to the things they bring in. Apart from the direct skills and talents, they bring in indirect benefit of adding talented and experienced people that would help speed up the growth of the company. The more experienced the staff is, the less ground-up time needed. Time is very valuable for business so at the end, any factor to speed up the growth and accelerate the benefits matter.

*Magnetism of the individuals matter:
Experienced and powerful individuals would bring many skills and talents as a package along with them to the table. But apart from that if they radiate magnetic attraction that draws people to them, other people in the company would be more interested to work along with them, learn from them and benefit the overall company. This intangible asset is a testimonial in itself about the executive’s abilities. It is important for the subordinates to like their boss for getting things done quicker and better. If the subordinates are ready to follow a person then it means they are willing to put their trust, career and livelihood on the line. When the employees in the company look up to them, it is easier to run the show.

*Ensure the hire fits the company’s culture:
A company’s short-term goals and the long-term goals defines the company’s culture. As a founder, one would have a defined set of goals so it is wise to hire the senior official who are on the same page as the founder. Else, it may prove disastrous to the business as each one may head to different direction. On the other hand if the top hires are on the same page they can all row the boat together and accelerate the growth of the business. Also, they will effectively act as a proxy for the CEO, increasing communication and efficiency of the overall business. It is not all that difficult to find about the person’s goals. Looking at the past titles and achievements on the resume can help in having some insight about the person. Also, questioning him/her at the interview with some direct question can help finding the answers.

*Look at management team as family:
For any startup, C-level hires or the management team are a family. They serve as the co-pilot that steer the ship at good and bad times. Sometimes one may have to spend more time with the working family than the actual family especially when working at deadlines. During the crucial times, CEOs and COOs help make the important decisions. It is mainly because of this, the executive team should have more than industry skills or experience. They have to complement each other and help the group act as a whole. It is important for the founder to adapt to the management team and for them to adapt to the overall company and feel as a family.



*Create corporate culture:
Startups may looks for experienced professionals but not all experienced professionals look to work in startups. They look for corporate environment to work at and thoroughly research the company before submitting a resume.. So it is important the startups have a good culture. The culture can be professional, casual, straight-laced one or eclectic one. It is important for the founder to create a environment and culture that attracts the management profession he needs for the company.



*Actively recruit and keep a lookout:
It is important that the founder does not restrict himself to the job portals and websites for hunting for the management team. There are chances the right person may be working somewhere else so there are chances of meeting the right person at other business or industry meeting. When come across such persons, it is alright to discuss business and ask him to meet later. Business cards can be collected and may be referred later when needed. So it is wise to always keep eyes open and look for networks and people.



*Diversify the hire:
When the founder recruits a person who think just like him or her, there are chances that both see the same things always and shunt the growth of the business. So, rather than looking for the same kind of person, one should consider looking at team of managers for diverse backgrounds who will bring different perspectives and angles to the business and can get variety of ideas and options to ponder over.

*Soft skills are important:
Of late, businesses are giving more importance to the soft skills over the hard skills as they produce better results. Soft skills are nothing but communication skills, goal settings and the ability to efficiently delegate tasks to the subordinates which are sometime more important than the skill specific to the actual work itself. People with better soft skills can influence people easily and are more open to learning.

Most of the times, it may not be easy for the company to follow all the tips mentioned above due  to various reasons like constraint of resources or startups may look for something much easier than looking for best fit. So look at the best one could do and ensure there are not much compromises. Always remember, when comes to recruiting the top management, they bring much more into the business more than their job description and in many ways they can build or break the company. So it is wise to be patient and take one step at a time to ensure the hires fit right into the designated role.