The recent post by Dharmesh Shah (Startup Hiring: An Entrepreneur Disagrees With Entrepreneur Magazine) reminded me of a few simple rules I follow regarding hiring and firing people:
- Find great people who excel at learning new things as they will almost always be of the greatest value to your organization. This is expecially true for startups as you need people able to quickly adapt as your company grows and changes.
- Put an emphasis on finding people who are able to execute. In a startup, whether it is a sales guy, a programmer, or a customer support specialist, your employees need to accomplish the task and move on. Some people get caught up with the process or by trying to do it perfectly. However, when you are trying to launch and grow a new company on a shoe-string, you need people who can really get it done with as little fanfare and struggle as possible.
- The moment you realize that someone is not working out, fire them. Dragging it out (and that is what you are doing) makes it worse for everyone. When it comes to employee management, this was one of the hardest lessons I have ever learned but one of the most critical in keeping the company productive and the morale high. As soon as it starts going sour for you (or them), cut the ties, find a replacement, and move on.
So, when hiring at a startup, find those people who love to learn and execute. And, don’t let the difficulties of firing someone prevent you from doing the right thing for your company.