Guest post by Allison Page, Founder and Chief Product Officer, SevenRooms
While established corporations may have very standardized hiring practices with clearly defined job descriptions, startup companies often take a more fluid approach. At a startup, every employee is expected to contribute more directly to the bottom line, and with each new hire there is an exponential impact on the company’s culture and ultimate success. Quite simply, startups have more at stake with each new hire they make. Without the time or resources to hire less-than-perfect employees, startups must look for the right people to thrive in their unique environment.
What makes startup employees unique?
While startups provide incredible opportunities to work on passionate teams, they are an all-hands-on-deck environment and candidates need to be prepared to wear multiple hats and tackle new challenges and roles every day. Professionals looking for new career paths often glamorize working at startups, offering cubicle-free environments and cold brew on tap all day -- but it’s not all fun and games.
When we started SevenRooms, a restaurant reservation system, our passion for the product came from wanting to solve a real problem we saw across the hospitality industry. From day one, we’ve sought out employees who believe in our vision and mission to empower operators to create meaningful relationships with their guests. Over the last seven years, we’ve discovered that the best employees are those that are passionate, driven, and come to work every day ready to roll up their sleeves and dig in. And in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment, employees have a much bigger stake in your success or failure. It’s what makes a startup so unique.
The most successful startup employees are proactive, self-starters who thrive in an environment of uncertainty, comfortable knowing their day to day role may change and evolve. They are able to tackle problems and take on responsibilities across the board that are not explicitly defined in a standard, bulleted job description. When hiring, startups should seek out these go-getters who are looking to hit the ground running and quickly make a big impact on the team’s success.
How do you find the right culture fit?
Startups must take a very different approach in the resume and interview process. After all, in such tight-knit environments, it’s crucial to bring in teammates that are a cultural fit for the organization. While traditional companies may only scan resumes for clear-cut requirements like years of experience in their field or professional accolades, successful startups look at a well-rounded view of a candidate’s background, both personally and professionally. There is less emphasis on whether they have an exact skill set and more focus on attitude, work ethic, motivation, and breadth of experience that they can bring to the company as a whole. As global companies appealing to global customer bases, it’s critical to assemble diverse teams of individuals with unique backgrounds who can bring unique viewpoints and perspectives to the organization.
The last thing that is important to look for in hiring is something a little extra that highlights a candidates personality or tells a story, like a unique hobby or side hustle. Anyone who can demonstrate having a real impact on something they care about is worth considering, even if it’s totally unrelated to the job. With a booming economy, the startup scene is larger than ever, and hiring the right people and building out a well-rounded, passionate team is what can make or break a company’s success.
Allison Page, Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder of SevenRooms
Allison Page is the Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder of SevenRooms, where she leads product strategy, vision, and user experience design for SevenRooms, transforming the daily operations of properties in over 100 cities globally. Prior to founding SevenRooms, Allison started her career in investment banking at Credit Suisse. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance & Real Estate from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and was named one of six ‘Rising Stars’ in the hotel industry by Hotel Business.
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