Building a Team from Scratch - Behaviours V/S Skills
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When building a business there is nothing more important than your team so picking the right people to join you is critical. However, in a new organisation, there is often not the funds to start off with a large team and therefore how should you go about selecting the few people you can have? Should you select the most technically skilled people you can find or find people whose personality and behaviours you feel the best match your organisation's goals or the culture you would like to create?
Starting On Your Own
Starting off as the one person in a business it is very hard to decide who to join you first, both because you want to make the right decision but also because you are so used to working by yourself that it is hard to relinquish care of any part of the business to someone else. From experience one of the most important things to remember is that you will spend a huge amount of time with the initial team members, often in a small office! Therefore during the recruitment process, ensuring that you will be able to work closely with anyone you recruit and that you will enjoy doing so is vital. It is also important to note though that finding a person who compliments your personality rather than mimics it will be beneficial as too much of the same thing can be a bad thing in a small team!
It is worth keeping in mind that in a small business, roles aren't always as clear-cut as they are in a larger organisation. You will need team members who can multi-task and take on the responsibility that is outside their core skillset and role. They will need to want and be able to pick up new skills and do jobs that often aren't exciting but in return they will get great exposure to how a company works and grow with that organisation. Throughout the recruitment process you will need to find ways to assess your candidates against this mindset as it is easy for people to agree to in an interview but harder to deliver.
Using Your Skills
Notwithstanding the flexibility requirements, it is still important that each employee has a clear role and knows what their key responsibilities are. At an early stage in an organisation typically you will either need candidates who have a set of skills that differ to the existing team (for example someone to manage finance) or the exact same skillset (think a second developer in a software business). The harder candidate to recruit is obviously those that have a totally different set of skills to yours or others in the organisation as assessing their skill sets may require specialist knowledge. At this point, you can use your network and inviting someone else to the second interview who can give you a better indication of whether the candidates you are seeing have the skills you need.
Whether the business you are building is your own or a concept you have been tasked with developing you will have a huge amount of passion for what you are doing. It will be difficult to find people who share the exact level of drive and motivation around your goals but you do need to look for this during recruitment. Growing teams are lots of fun but hard work and so everyone within them needs to be working towards the same goal with the same energy and enthusiasm so testing for this as you recruit is a necessity and then onboarding someone so that they are infected with the buzz of the business will really benefit the whole team.