6 useful traits to look for when recruiting for your startup

Creating a start-up is an exciting journey!

The establishment of a little idea into the action of empowering people, communities and society at large is greatly valued in today’s world.

Even so, building a start-up from the ground up into a viable, profit-making business, is equally as thrilling. Part of the exhilarating experience is recruiting the team of people for the job.

Find the right people, and you have potential to grow your company exponentially. At the same time, finding people who are FUN makes work a whole lot more exciting.

The question then is, what fun (and useful) traits should we look for in an individual when recruiting for a start up?

Here are some feasible suggestions you could consider when recruiting.


1.    Gung-Ho!

Simply put; Enthusiastic!

We all love someone who is easily thrilled and enthusiastic about everything – including work.

Having that person who is highly motivated and passionate about what he or she does will bring life and spirit into the company.

Quite subtly, the whole team’s morale will be boosted with that one individual’s very presence.

What to look for: One who goes about his or her daily activities with a smile on his/her face. One who brings cheer and a positive vibe in every situation.


2.   Out of the box

Whether it’s decorating their desk with their Hot Wheels collection, taking sweet Polaroid photos of their buddies in the office, or coming up with “Joke of the Day” puns, creative people are a rear species.

If you find them, you know you will need to take a closer look.

People who are “out of the box” are particularly apt at brainstorming new ideas and ingenious ways at problem solving – a highly valued trait to look for in a start-up employee.

What to look for: Creative and abstract use of space.

People who like to use their hands to make things and improve their surroundings.

On first contact in an interview, dressing (hair colour and artistic choice of clothing) may be an indicator.


3.    “You can count on me”

There is always a need for enthusiastic and creative people in the office, but one more important trait to look for is whether or not the individual is responsible.

This trait may not seem as fun as the others, but it is absolutely necessary to have in an employee.

A self-motivated individual won’t need a pep-talk.

Instead, he or she is proactive in achieving goals.

Working in a start-up means getting tasks done within short time frames.

Multitasking and stress management become second-nature to someone who is dependable.

Also, the candidate’s ability to switch between impromptu tasks to be completed helps with keeping on track.

If the person is organized in completing tasks, you know you’ve hired the right person.

What to look for: One who is not perturbed by workload and has one’s balance of priorities for each day of the week.

This kind of individual will have a detailed timetable of all tasks clearly outlined for the day.


4.    Loves people

Working in start-up also means working with a team of individuals.

Whether the team is large or only a handful, being a team player involves more than just being present, it means getting along with everyone – even people who are hard to deal with.

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Each individual’s participation is key to a team succeeding. So look for those who jive well with others.

What to look for: Virtues such as patience, humility, a sense of humour, and a teachable attitude. Can see the positive side in others.


5.    Confidence is sexy

Another trait to look for is a sense of confidence.

Confidence is said to be the sexiest trait people look for when finding a mate.

The same goes when recruiting for a start-up. Confidence is not to be mistaken for being cocky or self-absorbed.

Instead, the person is seen as confident when he or she believes in themselves and has high self-worth.

Do keep in mind that this is also trait of a future leader.

When confidence is coupled with a people-centric nature, creativity and enthusiasm, you get a combination for the perfect employee!

What to look for: Find cues in posture, tone, and clarity of voice. A curriculum vitae with valuable non-work related achievements would be a major plus point.


6.    Street smart

The ability to fit in to an organization is all good, but when it comes to new challenges encountered, look for the one who is resourceful and street smart.

Candidates who are street smart make the most use of what they’ve been given.

They will not take ‘No’ for an answer.

Instead they persevere to bring out a positive outcome from seemingly negative circumstances.

For example, when the supplier quotes exorbitant production costs, the employee will bargain with full facts and figures to lower the prices quoted.

What to look for: A sense of ownership towards problem-solving. Prior experience in Crisis-Management, Public Relations, or Sales positions may be an indicator of a street smart individual.


In a nutshell

Overall, the variety of considerable candidates out there is overwhelmingly large. You will find that out first-hand when you put up job vacancy advertisements online.

Filtering through these potential employees will be a handful if you are not sure what to look for.

Hence, follow these 6 tips to look for when recruiting for your start-up.

You can be sure to find the right team to boost productivity, grow your company and have loads of fun while at it!

Original Post



Adrian Tan is CEO of The Resource Group, a boutique HR Consultancy that focuses on helping SMEs. Before this, he was the MD of RecruitPlus which he co-founded in 2004 and led to two HR Vendor of the Year award. He was named the HR Entrepreneur of the Year by SHRI in 2013. He blogs regularly on #Entrepreneurship and #HRTech on adriantan.com.sg.


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