Startup Hiring : Two Mistakes Founders Often Make

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Startup Hiring : Two Mistakes Founders Often Make

Recruitment is tough and all founders realize this in due time. A funded / not so funded / not funded startup has its own set of hiring challenges. Every founder know how difficult it is to assemble and retain right people especially in early days. In the early days, founders use their repetitive hiring experience and intuition to make an initial team, but many founders with no hiring experience are prone to make these two common mistakes:

1. Hiring a False Positive

False positives are those people who fit your selection criteria perfectly. Their overall personality/ communication/ behaviour is such that they come across as an ideal candidate. There could be the case that these guys have mastered the art of giving interview or they have researched about you well and behave as you desire.hiring

These guys may appear good but are not as good when it comes to execution or getting their hands dirty. Needless to say – hiring these candidates is a big mistake. It is very important for founders to develop a knack of identifying false positives. As an interviewer/ recruiter/ selector, you should just not ask a set of questions and go as per the words/ answers but you should try to read between lines, go beyond words, try to find out the actual attitude of a person. His track record can also come handy as there should not be any mystery around it.

Doing a trial period of 7-10 days for all the key positions is also a great to avoid a wrong hire, and I have seen this practically working with startups.

Trial period gives enough time to both the parties to know about each other and take an informed decision. So, in nutshell. you should avoid hiring a false positive person and if hired you should part ways as soon as identified.

2. Rejecting a False Negative.

As name suggests, it is opposite of false positive. The person who initially doesn’t seem to fit the bill but is actually a good prospect when it comes to execution, learning new things.

He/ She can become an excellent leader or team member in the future. He may not tell you things which you want to listen or behave as you would expect an ideal candidate to. This doesn’t mean that he is not good and lacks the basic know how but it could be the case that he didn’t get the required exposure.

In order to gain competitive advantage you don’t have to do bigger things but small things differently. Hiring a false negative person is one of them. The big question is how to identify these guys.

The answer is “Intuition”. You can’t explain the selection of these people with logic. Again trial or live in period comes handy. At any cost, you should not allow these people to leave as they are the potential game changers.

The above mentioned points are in the context of hiring but I think you have also realised that this is applicable to every case when we are choosing people, be it personal or professional purposes.

What are your thoughts?

[Nikhilesh founded startup named cvbhejo before his current venture He is also helping The Morpheus portfolio companies with hiring startup candidates.]

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Comments (3)

  1. Completely agree with above startup mistakes.

    These are the most common startup mistakes which almost every startup founder is making. There are so many common startup mistakes but,

    1. Single Founder
    2. Launching too early
    3. Spending too much

    these 3 mistakes are very much common.

    If any startup has only a single founder then there would be more chances of getting failed because single person can’t be able to handle all the things.

    Having multiple founders help in finding different different solutions when we have any problem because different brains think differently and generate different ideas.

    Some people lauch their startups too early even when if they aren’t ready for it. So It is not good.

    And people also spend too much money after starting their startup in order to generate instant result which isn’t good. They must have to keep themself calm and should work hard.

    I am glad that you have listed all the major mistakes here. So Thanks for sharing it. 😀

  2. Well, the startups are one of the better places to show your skills. I can say this as I work for a startup which provide medicine reminder service. You can read our article by yourstory at

  3. Agree with you especially on Rejecting False Negative.
    One need to be aware that the person who confirms one’s belief all the time may not bring fresh perspective.

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