Startup Hiring: 3 Ways to Look Beyond the Resume

Startup Hiring: 3 Ways to Look Beyond the Resume

I never saw myself working in a place like this,” said Don Draper, in the hit series,A Mad Men, as he walked out the doors of Sterling-Cooper to start his own ad agency in season three resume.

If you’re in business for yourself after leaving a corporate job, you may have felt this same way. Now you face a new and exciting challenge: hiring top talent to help make your startup dreams come true. The good news? WithA 13.1 millionA unemployed people in the U.S. job market, you should have no shortage of options.

Like Don and his partners, you want the cream of the crop at your startup. How does a new company find top talent with a limited budget? You have to be creative, by seeking new talent from a variety of sources.

Remember there is no “typical startup;” therefore, traditional means of hiring just won’t always work. And finding the best talent is as tough as ever. Projections for 2012 projections indicate that, for the first time in U.S. history, the number of younger workers entering the labor market won’t be enough to replace those who are leaving, according toA

Try these three strategies that will help you think outside the box in terms of hiring.

1. Qualities to Look for when

Don Draper took several of Sterling-Cooper’s finest with him. He took Pete Campbell for his accounts and his talent, Peggy for her work ethic and creativity, Harry for his media knowledge, and Joan, the heart of the office. You probably want to look for similar qualities in your employees.

George John, CEO ofA Rocket FuelA shared hisA ideal qualitiesA of a startup employee. “The most important characteristics to me are actually intellectual honesty and courage – meaning, in a startup there are things that are going to work well and things that aren’t. That’s where the experiments come in,” said John. “But, there’s another flavor of the ideal employee — someone who is very intellectually curious. In fact, they may even aspire to join another private company or start their own company someday.”

2. How to Look Beyond the Resume

Once you’ve got your potential hires, how do you find out if they are right for your company? According to blogger Sharlyn Lauby, a startup employee needs theseA five key qualities.

  • Flexibility
  • Accountability/Responsibility
  • Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • Innovative Outlook
  • Drive

While some of these qualities will become apparent through online interactions, phone interviews or in-person meetings,A personality assessmentsA can also help to outline specific strengths and preferences you might not be able to pinpoint in an interview. And because you probably haven’t yet assembled a seasoned HR department for your startup, these assessments help provide insight into a candidate’s values, talents and skills, and can help you determine whether a candidate fits the position and the company culture.

It’s important to find people who will be energized and engaged at work, particularly in a startup environment, where your employees can make or break your business. Resumes only show you a fraction of a person; personality assessments can give you the full picture to make the right decision the first time.

3. What Questions to Ask in the Interview

The secret to finding a good employee is to discover her inner character, what drives her, what makes her tick. Beyond personality assessments, focus on asking the right interview questions to determine whether she has the appropriate work experience, skills and values necessary to perform the job.

A good interviewer gets the applicant talking aboutA whatA she did,A howA she did it, andA whyA she did it that way. This is accomplished by asking open-ended questions that require the applicant to describe her experiences in detail, for example, “Describe what your primary job responsibilities were in your last position as a salesperson.” Then ask, “Give me an example of how you felt you exceeded those responsibilities” and “Describe to me your most difficult customer, and what you did to handle the situation.”

These types of questions will encourage the applicant to share personal experiences and perspective. This very valuable information can help evaluate her work habits and performance standards.

Finally, don’t underestimate the value of networking when hiring for your startup. Don Draper took the colleagues he already knew could hack it in his startup. By relying on your network, you’ll find it easier to separate the go-getters from the ho-hummers because you already have a sense of who the person is and how she will contribute.

As always, you can count on EresumeX for your free resume search.

~Dawn Krovicka