The Three Pitfalls of Recruiting Raw Talent

by Shaun Johnson The Startup Institute is a six-week, intensive program that prepares young professionals to be highly productive startup employees.  Each student will learn organizational and cultural fundamentals, as well as select one of four curriculum tracks to specialize in: web development, product and design, sales/business development, and technical marketing.  Our mission is to provide local companies with a well trained and vetted pool of driven young employees who are prepared to be immediately productive upon employment.

Recruiting top talent to your startup can be a treacherous and ongoing activity. You are a believer of “Always Be Hiring”, “Only Recruit ‘A’ Players” , “Hire for Passion”, and other maxims of talent acquisition. The truth is the majority of “passionate” applicants haven’t a clue what your company does, what they can do for your company, or even how to act within a startup. While you are out in the wild chasing down positive signal and panning for gold, be wary of all that glitters. Here’s just three types of fool’s gold to be avoided in the job market:

-Bait & Switch: These applicants talk a good game, may even provide decent demonstrations of what that can do (code review, case interview, personality fit). However, what you end up with is a well-rehearsed charade, a farce that leaves you buying a Lamborghini yet driving home in a lemon, rusting and leaking oil in the garage of your company.

-Lack of direction: The primary reason a company decides to hire is because there is stuff to be done…today. Most new hires require a modicum of handholding, incrementing their responsibility & autonomy until it reaches the level of output desired. In the best cases this is days, but more often, months. The line is blurred between training costs and salary expense.

-Poacher’s Premium: Clearly applicable skills, proven track record, what’s not to love? Lateral hires from industry seem de-risked, however, the pot is usually sweeter when coaxing a top-performer away from their success and toward your endeavor. The tax is not only monetary, via precious points of equity or outpaced salary tiers. In some cases catering and preference is  felt throughout the life of the hire.