Q.What’s one underappreciated trait you look for in all new hires?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
We look for candidates who over-communicate: they reconfirm times and locations for interviews a day in advance, they email thank-you notes after screening calls, and they follow up if they don’t hear anything. We know this trait will help ensure that they won’t have a miscommunication at work and that very little will slip past them.
- Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep
Because my company is small, each person is treated as an entrepreneur in charge of her own domain. Too many companies shy away from entrepreneurial employees, but I embrace them. Everyone I hire has the curious, can-do attitude of an entrepreneur.
- Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media
Having employees who are hustlers is essential. Not just in what they do — whether it’s sales, technical, marketing or anything else. You can teach processes, but you can’t teach someone how to hustle. Having an innate personality of being a hustler means he will do everything he can to help propel the business forward.
- Bryan Silverman, Star Toilet Paper
We’re looking for well-balanced, mentally healthy employees who have found a sense of happiness in their lives. Happy employees serve our clients brilliantly, work through conflict respectfully and don’t infuse unnecessary drama into the business.
- Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
Technology moves quickly. To stay up to date, a strong sense of curiosity is needed. I like to hear about the new tech people are using and their opinions on using it. A good developer is not a stagnant one. He knows what’s happening on the bleeding edge, as well as what is stable enough to be used for mission critical applications.
- Peter Baumgartner, Lincoln Loop
Although it is good to have employees with focus, it is also good to know that your employees are not entirely consumed by the work you’re giving them. Side projects and hobbies give them a buffer for when work is slower or less successful for a period, and it also makes them more interesting and valuable for the business as a whole (with higher network value and skills acquisition).
- Christopher Pruijsen, Afrostart.io
7. Time Management
When we conduct our interview process, we look for people who are really organized and great at managing time. If we feel they are not, then we know they will never be able to finish a project on time, and that may not be good for the team or for your business. The last thing you want is a team member who procrastinates and makes other team members look bad because of his or her time management.
- Derek Capo, Next Step China
If you were the CEO, what would your strategy be? For startups, hiring the right first employees can make or break your company. I don’t want someone who listens to everything I say; I want someone who isn’t afraid to bring her ideas to the table — even if they aren’t in line with my own. Show me a well-thought out plan, and we can brainstorm on it. It shows initiative and leadership.
- Sarah Ware, Markerly
I always ask new hires what they do in their spare time, and I place value on hobbies and activities that require an active mind and serious ambition. If team members shows passion off the clock, then this will inevitably translate into their ability to be passionate about their work.
- Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics
I’ve personally found that people involved as leaders in clubs, student government or other organizations on campus (unpaid, but very active) are some of the best people who go above and beyond at work. I always look for those activities on résumés, and I try to understand their real involvement. For me, finding active students translates into active employees.
- Eric Koester, DCI