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It is easy to fall for the superhero mythology.

If you think you have all the skills required to build a company from scratch, that's what's called that. Nobody does.

Nazar told Insider that he was a victim of the superhero mythology when he first launched Comparably.

According to Nazar, companies are successful because of their dream teams.

As a new startup founder, you will want to hire people who can fill the gaps in your skill set and help the company succeed. It is difficult as the country is going through an economic downturn.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, nearly half of small business owners had jobs they couldn't fill.

Bill Dunkelberg, the chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business, stated in the report that the labor shortage is frustrating for many small business owners.

We asked a group of entrepreneurship experts to give us some guidelines for hiring. They shared interview questions, common pitfalls to avoid, and how to know when you're ready to hire.

Our sources are reliable.

  • Krystle Mobayeni, cofounder and CEO of BentoBox, which helps restaurants design their websites
  • Liz Wessel, cofounder and former CEO of WayUp, a job platform for college students and early-stage professionals
  • Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University
  • Cat Hernandez, partner at the venture-capital firm The Venture Collective
  • Christine Beckman, the Price Family Chair in Social Innovation and Professor of Public Policy at USC Price
  • Glen Evans, partner of core talent at the venture-capital firm Greylock Partners
  • Kim Taylor, cofounder and CEO at Cluster, which recruits for advanced roles in manufacturing
  • Cesar Carvalho, cofounder and CEO at the corporate fitness program GymPass
  • Mark Leslie, managing general partner at Leslie Ventures and lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

Learn how to hire in an early-stage startup.

Know when it's the right time to expand your team

Seed funding may have been secured before anyone else was added to the team.

The first-time founder has a guide to pitching a VC.

It is your goal to get the product or service to market when you hire the first few employees.

The first few hires are usually engineers. According to her experience at Primary Venture Capital, the engineers are either building a minimum viable product or improving the baseline product. Entrepreneurs typically look for business roles to support the initial market.

Evans said there are two questions to help you decide if you should bring on a contractor.

  1. What skills are missing that would be critical to building the company or product?
  2. Is this a long-term or short-term need?

"If the skills are critical and it's a long-term need, it's probably a good time to consider hiring someone full-time to round out the team," Evans wrote.

Hire to fill the gaps in your skill set

The most successful entrepreneurs have a self-awareness about their strengths and weaknesses. As their business grows, they can hire people to complement their skills.

Someone who is good at execution is brought on if the founder is a visionary. They look for someone with an engineering background.

This kind of self-awareness can help prevent problems in the future. According to one study, founders who hire experienced specialists early on are more successful than those who wait until a specific issue arises.

The founder who tries to be a generalist can cause organizational problems because they don't have the expertise for every domain and they need their approval.

A new book urges bosses to pass on well-rounded job candidates. The hire it recommends is unconventional.

Avoid hiring clones of yourself

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is a professor of business psychology.
Courtesy of Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Chamorro-Premuzic, a business professor, said founders often make the mistake of hiring people just like themselves, an established bias in organization psychology. (Executives across industries are known to do the same thing.)

He said that when someone looks like us or behaves like us, we are likely to like them. It's a way of being self-centered.

One of Nazar's biggest mistakes was trying to find people like him. He said that he was wrong about it.

The best way to become a better boss in 30 days.

A growing body of evidence supports the idea that diverse teams are better than homogeneity. It's important that employees share your core values, but it's also important to find people with different stories.

Skills and personality can be referred to as diversity. It makes it possible for people to look at things from different perspectives.

Avoid B-level employees

Mark Leslie is a lecturer at the Graduate School of Business and a VC investor.

He said that a B-quality employee might hire another B-quality worker. Entrepreneurs can expect an A-quality staffer to have higher standards for bringing people onto the team.

Entrepreneurs can use reference checks. Asking references how the employees did at their job, how respected they were, and identifying strengths and weaknesses is a good way to find out.

Assess whether job candidates are suited to the startup environment

Chamorro-Premuzic said that learning should be the top priority in job candidates. In a fast changing workplace, learnability refers to the willingness to grow and adapt. The belief that your talents can be developed through effort and feedback is similar to a growth mindset.

Potential employees can be asked if they take a different route to work.

People who need a lot of structure shouldn't be hired by the founder.

Kim Taylor vertical headshot
Kim Taylor is the founder and CEO of Cluster.
Courtesy of Kim Taylor
At Cluster, Taylor previously told Business Insider, she looks for people who will be "comfortable with the fact that their role will be changing; they're going to be doing different things every day."

Job candidates are given problems similar to those at Cluster. It's clear who needs hand-holding and who doesn't. There is a scientific term for the desire to know the answer and an avoidance of ambiguity.

Nazar is honest with potential employees about what it's like to work at a startup. He tries to scare people away by being candid.

He said that they probably weren't going to be a good fit if they opted out.

Be careful when hiring friends (of friends)

If you were referred by a current employee, you're more likely to get the job than if you weren't. It is possible that your first few hires will come from your network.

The same magnifying glass should be used on job candidates you know and those you don't.

She had a hard time learning that lesson. She hired someone she knew well. She said that she probably didn't do the right diligence or ask the right questions. After a few months, they parted ways.

Don't wing it

Consistency in interview questions and procedures is important to making sure that all candidates are screened the same way. Wessel said that if possible, have multiple people rate a candidate on the same factors and discuss, so as to reduce the possibility of unconscious bias.

Many people make the same mistake trying to interview candidates for jobs, according to a former HR executive.

If you're not an expert in the area you're hiring for, Wessel suggests that you look for an advisor or friend who knows more.

Ensure that your hiring process is legal. A guide to hiring your first employee can be found on Gusto. Every employer should be insured for workers' compensation.

Once your first hires are hired, you should have them fill out a W-4 form, which determines their tax withholding amount, and an I-9 form, which checks their eligibility to work in the US. You will need a payroll schedule as well.

Hire for the jobs you'll need in the next few years

cesar carvalho gympass
Cesar Carvalho is the founder and CEO of Gympass.
Courtesy of Gympass
Every startup needs a long-term vision. And every new hire should contribute to making that vision a reality.

It is easy for a founder to get caught up in what they need.

The early days of Gympass were not optimal because they weren't equipped to tackle new challenges as the company grew.

They had to bring on more older people. Being able to plan for the next two to three years helped me a lot.

Plans can change. If employees aren't suited to the company's new direction, you don't need to keep them on.

Managers should regularly evaluate whether their current team is capable of tackling the next big challenge, according to a former chief talent officer. The manager might need to let some people go.

Think carefully about equity

Many early-stage startups give employees equity in the business in order to lure them away from more established, higher paying companies.

It can be hard to understand the process.

Fred Wilson outlines a number of steps for granting stock options.

  1. Determine your company's "best value." That number can be, for example, the valuation on your last round of financing or a recent offer to buy your company that you declined.
  2. Break down your organization into different levels: the senior management team, director-level managers, key employees, and employees in non-critical functions.
  3. Assign each level a multiplier (e.g. 0.5x, 0.25x, 0.1x, and 0.05x, numbers that Wilson said were standard in 2010.)
  4. Multiply each employee's base salary by the corresponding multiplier so you get a dollar value in equity.
  5. Divide the dollar value of equity by your company's best value. Multiply that number by the number of fully diluted shares.
  6. Voila! You have the appropriate grant amount.

Explain to new hires what their compensation package really means

If you are giving equity, make sure to talk to your new hires about their compensation package. Not every new hire will have been at a startup before. It's employees' responsibility to ask questions, but you should be willing to give as much information as you can to make them feel better.

When it comes to your employees' personal preferences, you can consider that as well. She said that some people cared more about base salary than others.

It's a win-WIN if you offer custom compensation packages. People who can afford to be picky about where they work are more likely to join a founding company.

If you don't have the funds to offer market-rate salaries, Wessel suggests being transparent with candidates.

Cultivate a culture of ownership

Mobayeni wants employees to have more control over their lives.

A former GE executive who trained new managers found that most of them made the same mistake.

She said that you want a team that is thinking about the business as much as you are. If they're being micromanaged, or if they're just carrying out a to-do list that's dictated from whoever is above them, that sense of ownership and care is not there.

The driver of creativity and pro activity is the employee's freedom of choice. Employees are more likely to leave if they don't feel connected to the company mission.

Mobayeni allows her employees to make mistakes and celebrate when they come up with an idea that works.

It's important that they have a connection to the work they're doing.

They contributed to an earlier version of the article.