How to Fill the 3 Most Important Roles in Your Startup Business

Feb 14, 2018

3 Important Startup Roles

Congratulations! You decided to venture into the world of launching a business. There are unique challenges ahead, including some you have not yet even considered.

One of the most important challenges that you can address right now at the startup stage of your business is hiring for the most critical roles in your company.

In a recent article, "7 Reasons Startups Fail", "weak team and poor leadership" were cited as the primary hurdles to overcome in a startup business. The article adds that startups will not be successful if they "cannot recruit and motivate the most talented people for the jobs on which the company's success depends."

With this in mind, consider the three most important roles that you need to fill and how to hire the best fit for each of these roles.

3 Most Important Roles to Hire for in a Startup Business

At this stage, you should focus on filling universal roles that carry out the vital functions of any business.

  • Role #1: Leadership -- great leaders of people
  • Role #2: Sales -- bring in the revenue
  • Role #3: Customer Service -- serve your clients

The functions of leadership, sales, and customer service are intertwined in a startup business. You need great leaders to cast the vision for your business, motivate the sales team to sell your product or solution, and hold the customer service team accountable for serving clients once they become a customer.

These functions all impact business development, business retention, and employee engagement, contributing to a positive brand image in the marketplace.

How to Fill the Most Important Roles in Your Startup Business

To fill the vital startup business roles of leadership, sales, and customer service, make sure you avoid two common mistakes stemming from the "friend myth."

  • There is an inclination to hire friends, relatives, and former co-workers because you trust and know these individuals.
  • Many startup business owners buy into the notion that hiring familiar individuals is a way to counteract their high-risk position of starting a business.

There are cases in which hiring known individuals will help reduce risk. However, it's much more likely that the individuals that you believe would be a good fit do not have the needed competencies to be successful in the role for which you are hiring.

The key is to understand how to take the guesswork out of the hiring process so that you can focus on the items on your to-do list that are vital to getting your business off the ground.

Before making hiring decisions, you should build a hiring structure that includes two key tools: a pre-employment assessment and a behavioral interview.

These tools will allow you to objectively measure the competencies of each candidate that you are considering for each role. This will help you make informed hiring decisions and avoid the mistakes associated with unscientifically filling seats in your new organization.

The Importance of An Assessment and Behavioral Interview

- An assessment addresses your hiring blindspots. The tool also helps remove an emotional component tied to a desire for familiarity to offset the fear of failure in the startup environment.

Primarily, an assessment addresses the urge to hire too quickly to fill a role or the urge to hire someone because you have a "gut feeling" they are a good fit. In reality, that gut feeling represents a personal bias that can cause you to misjudge candidates.

Many assessments also provide industry benchmarks that can be used to compare each candidate to the role you are hiring for. This is important because, as a startup business, you do not have historical reference points of the top-performers in your company to compare to candidates.

- A behavioral interview provides structure to your interview process. This type of interview moves beyond the typical job interview that is based on hypothetical questions. In a behavioral interview, candidates identify actual situations, tasks, actions, and results from past roles that predict their behavior in a similar context in your company.

Also included in a behavioral interview are legally-reviewed interview questions that enhance your ability to confirm information found in the candidate's assessment results.

Before conducting a behavioral interview with candidates, you should receive training on proper interview techniques. Training includes understanding how to ask secondary probing questions that unlock more information about the candidate's behavior that tie to specific role-based competencies.

How Can ZERORISK HR Support Hiring for Your Startup?

ZERORISK HR offers hiring tools that match the needs of startups at the beginning stages of their business. Specifically, we provide an assessment based on the science of axiology and a behavioral interview guide through the ZERORISK Hiring System.

To see if our system is the right fit for your company, we offer two options to evaluate the ZERORISK Hiring System: request a demo or take advantage of a free 7-day trial.

To further discuss your specific needs and goals, contact our team today. We appreciate the opportunity to support the hiring process for your startup business.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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