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Have you ever been overly excited about introducing yourself into a new world of business? Has this excitement ever gotten the better of you? Did you make a lot of regrettable mistakes along the line? Guess what, it’s absolutely normal. However, as normal as this may seem, it is necessary to be conscious of the fact that the key to a successful startup journey is a successful start, and by a successful start, I mean hiring the right set of people to write the success story along with you. Making the right first hire is winning half the startup battle, and it starts with the day you choose your first team member.

Hiring is undoubtedly, one of the most challenging things to achieve in the early stages of a startup. Unfortunately, it is an inevitable task. As a founder, it is very natural to get ahead of yourself and make those common mistakes most entrepreneurs make in the early stages. When you are building your team in the early stages, every single hire is crucial as each one has the power to positively or negatively impact your business. Here are common hiring mistakes every startup should avoid in order to ensure a successful journey.

Inability to Identify the Ideal Candidate

It is very easy just to name categories of prospective applicants. It is even easier to put up an advert for these named categories. However, have you really taken out time to ponder on what and who you really want to work it? Have you ever bothered to sit back, relax and contemplate on whether or not you will like to work with someone whose ambitions match yours and whom you can relate comfortably with? It is very necessary to paint a vivid picture of your ideal team member through writing. No doubt, there is no perfect recruit, but the essence of this is to enable you to identify the right fit when you see them. This singular process will also go a long way in filtering out candidates who are not a good match for your startup.

Making Sentimental Decisions

Mark my words, hiring your friend could be one of the worst mistakes you could ever make in your hiring process. Hiring people for your startup based on your relationship with them is considered stupid and unprofessional. Existing dynamics, more often than not, make it highly impossible to work together. This could be because you feel like you know your friend so well that your expectations of such a person are on the high side. It could also be because you know each other so well that you cannot really decipher between work time and playtime. In the long run, you could end up ruining both your business and your friendship.

Trying to Fit a Round Peg in a Square Hole

Most entrepreneurs often make the mistake of hiring a jack of all trades, all in the name of saving more money. It is not a sin to multi-task, neither is it a crime to be so intelligent and efficient that you can wear multiple hats at once. However, hiring them because you think they can wear multiple hats efficiently is a huge mistake, and this can mar your business culture excessively. Most times, you end up with someone who is averagely good at a lot of things, but not perfect at anything. Thus, it is advisable to hire specialists in a related field for vacant hiring positions.


One of the significant challenges many starting founders face is the inability to decide and stick to it. They often experience many doubts surrounding them regarding their hiring process and end up asking themselves if they made the right choice of candidate. This problem could be minimized by setting up a panel for the recruitment process. When you involve other people in the decision-making processes, it helps to reduce the risk of making bias judgments, and the air can be cleared of all recruitment-related doubts.

Making Compromises

In every business culture, it is very dangerous and harmful to get used to making compromises and going against your own laid down principles and values. Your mission and values as a business are core to everything you do and could also influence your entire operation from product development to partnership acquisition. Your mission and values as a business need to be communicated clearly and effectively and you need not compromise your values as this could go a long way in building a team with such a cohesive force that you can be sure you are all working towards the same goal.

Speedy Hiring Process

More often than not, starting founders tend to get very impatient, and rather than going against all odds to ensure an effective hiring process, they unconsciously or subconsciously speed up the entire hiring process, all in a bid to shift to the next candidate and get the process over with, in the shortest time possible. This is a common mistake that has led to a lot of entrepreneurs missing out on recruiting potential candidates for the right positions in their companies. Thus, it is of extreme importance that the hiring process has to go slow and steady, and each candidate should be appropriately analyzed.

Being Unnecessarily Judgmental

One of the most common mistakes associated with hiring candidates for most startups worldwide is judging people based on certain irrelevant factors such as religion, gender, culture or tribe, and even age. Creating restrictions makes you very likely to miss out on people who can actually get the task done in the best possible way.

The process of hiring the right candidate for your startup goes beyond just putting up a job offer. It comes down to knowing who and what you are looking for and exploiting the proper channels to actualize your dream. Be circumspect when hiring because the choice of candidates you decide to add to your team could make or mar your company’s success.

What are some other mistakes startup founders make during the hiring process. Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.