Tuesday, October 2, 2012

4 Hiring Tips for Your Lean Startup

There’s a ton do when you’re first starting a company. Each co-founder or employee executes several job descriptions jumbled together, and it seems a simple solution to just hire a new person and delegate away responsibilities, never to be worried about again. This becomes especially relevant post-funding, because it suddenly becomes plausible to hire with the intended result of getting more done faster.

But this isn’t necessarily true, according to Eric Ries, creator of the Lean Startup methodology. “As you add people to a team or project, there is an increase in communications overhead that makes everyone slightly less productive,” he explains.
It may seem counterintuitive to do anything slow when following lean startup methods, but Ries’ point stands: To continue executing effectively, you must not introduce a point of friction to your team. Finding the right person is paramount, and worth the wait.

1. Don’t Hire Too Soon
When you first think you need to hire someone, write a detailed job description. It’s not enough to have a problem that you don’t think someone on your team can solve. That often leads to imagining that your new recruit will bring magical powers with them. At this point, if you don’t really understand the problem, how will you choose the right person to take it on? A killer job description will help you understand what tasks you need done and whether it really justifies another full-time employee.

When Artsicle was just starting out and still bootstrapping, founder Alexis Tryon says the company approached a good friend to join. Within a few months, it became clear that it was too early — they didn’t have a job for anyone yet, and had put the cart in front of the horse, Tryon says.

Ries recommends that someone in the company take on a job before hiring an outside person to do it. This helps you understand if the new job is truly critical, and if so, will make integrating a new person into the team faster, because an existing employee will understand the problem and have credibility around it.

 2. Use Your Personal Connections