4 People Who Should NEVER Work for an Entrepreneur

Sep 17 2015

It sounds so glamorous working at a startup. And entrepreneurs seem so cool. Shouldn’t everyone want to work in one of these mystical and magical companies? NO! As an entrepreneur, you probably can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t thrive in the excitement of your world. Beware that the startup environment is not for everyone and you entrepreneurs are a special breed. Make smart hiring decisions and know that you’re not likely to change, and neither are your new hires. Here are 4 types of people who should NEVER work for an entrepreneur:

#1: I Want Structure
This kind of employee likes clear rules and responsibilities, along with a healthy dose of standard operating procedures. He struggles to adapt to change, especially when it happens often. He wants to come in every morning and know exactly what to expect. Entrepreneurs don’t have time for this and can’t always explain why things are changing and hold hands with those who are anxious. You’ll waste valuable energy trying to keep this kind of employee sane and happy. Evaluate for an ability to be nimble and move with customers and the marketplace. If you don’t see it, move on.

#2: I Have a “One Track Mind”
Multi-tasking is a part of every job, but not everyone is good at it. If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, you need people who can juggle multiple things at one time—efficiently. To be able to do this without getting easily rattled or sacrificing the quality of their work takes a particular type of person. Push hard on this point and ask for a lot of examples that give you comfort that this person can handle changing priorities and a broad variety of tasks.

#3. I Need a Babysitter
Entrepreneurs and business owners don’t have time to hold hands and walk their team through every task and decision. You want to hire smart, confident employees who can step up to the plate and make good judgment calls. Employees who can get things done and work well independently are a key factor of company success. This trait typically shows up early in a candidates background and appears frequently in leadership roles, independent overseas travel, and the like. Don’t settle!

#4. That’s Not My Job
In a start-up, or small business many times job descriptions overlap. As you know, entrepreneurial employees are closing big deals one minute and changing light bulbs the next. If you’re considering hiring someone who needs to stay within a limited job description—watch out. If you need that person to run to the post office for you one day or stay late with a team mate to finish a project for a client, you may quickly learn who is a team player and who’s not. Avoid the surprises and look for candidates who have worked in team-based environments—we love retail, food service, and other “messy” and blurry jobs while in college. These are great predictors of flexibility and a willingness to literally get hands dirty!

As a company leader, save time and money by using behavioral questions to make smart hiring decisions. If they haven’t demonstrated what you need, you may not want to take a risk. Know what you’re looking for—and more appropriately, what you’re NOT looking for. Look for “green light” traits like flexibility, independence, and team-work. 

Happy Hiring!


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