Startup hiring – building your A-Team

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You are putting together a team which is crucial to the success of your startup.
This is the foundation of your company.
This is the culture of your company.
This is the team that builds the stuff in a roller coaster ride.
This is the core A-Team of your startup.

Tap into your network
A hire at this stage should be more trust worthy than any one else. You never know how the candidate is unless you work with him. No interview can solve this. Period. So tap into your network to hire the best talent. Your friend will never refer someone who puts his reputation at stake. Go ahead and put a word.

Attitude over aptitude
As perfectly phrased by one of my friend. You can teach aptitude but you cannot teach attitude.
Measure them on their ambition than their experience. Remember you are building the culture of your company. So if you have a choice between awesome talented – strong attitude and well talented – good attitude, go for the later. Trust me on this.

Generalists
Initially prefer to hire generalist who can tame the unknown and get things done. These are the people who are not sold on fancy titles. Startup is like a living being. It is ever changing and dynamic. Your initial years will have enough decisions and pivots to laugh at. Your team should be agile enough to do web services to app development to testing to making an omelette.

Hire specialists once you are out of beta and can afford. We build the long term product on top of the beta product. Please do not. This is the most common mistake most companies do and they live a painful time with the decision. This is the time to get seasoned developers and specialists to come in and take over the product and build with vertical quality. Your generalists are specialists at something. Identify that, make them comfortable and settle there.

Take care of your team
Make sure your team spends enough time together. This bonding helps to understand one another and move as a cohesive force. May be an unplanned lunch?
Planned team events are good at nothing (except food and drinks). But unplanned get togethers are more revealing and productive.

Have more suggestions? Feel free to add them in comments.

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