'Trep Talk: Top Hiring Tips For Startups From The Region's Famous Founders
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It's hard enough attracting talent, so how is a founder to know when they've found the perfect team member for their startup?
Elie Habib, co-founder and CTO of Anghami, Mohammed Jaffar, Deputy Chairman and CEO of Faith Capital and CEO of JustClean, and Magnus Olsson, co-founder and CXO of Careem, shared their top hiring tips for startups.
1. Find people who believe in your purpose
Sharing Careem's hiring philosophy, Olsson said, “We go look for talent that believe in our purpose, and that don't see this only as a job or a career, but as, ultimately, this is a calling they want to join, and we are on a purpose together.” He also noted that short-term bonuses are not part of his company's culture. “It feels petty,” he explained.
“We believe that performance opens opportunities. When we opened our call center, we did not hire people who knew how to work at a call center. We interviewed people to see if they were a good fit with our values, and if they were smart. Because if they started on the ground, answering the phone, five years later, they are senior leaders in our organization. And that's the type of people you want in a fast-growing place, because whatever your job is today, three months later, it's obsolete.”
2. Hire people you like hanging out with
Anghami's Habib said that he started his enterprise with people who have never done something similar before. This, he says, was the key to creating something that's “very different from other businesses.” “We wanted to get people who do not have to unlearn things,” he explained.
“Unlearning is hard. I think it's the biggest problem of the 21st century. What we did is actually get people who are smart, fresh, and do not have much unlearning to do, and we taught them.” So, what do you look for if you're not looking for skills? “Hire people who are leaders,” Habib said. “And hire the person that if you go out to dinner, you will enjoy their company. That's very essential to culture.”
3. Make people part of your company
“Hiring talent or hiring a good person is like getting married,” JustClean's Jaffar insisted. “You see them, they look good, but once you're in, it could be something different.” To attract committed hires, he recommended making them part of the company. “We've done it,” he said.
“We've also given the option for people to invest their own money if they would like to, and that makes people automatically feel that they're not employees anymore. They become colleagues and partners, and that makes them go the extra mile. It's about getting people that want to go the extra mile.” Of course, he added, this only works if you lead by example. “You have to treat people like your family. You have to treat them well. If you don't do this, it doesn't work.”