Building the Right Team for Your Startup

How to Hire Right Employee

From left to right, Hikmat Iskandar from Belazee, Audra Pakalnyte from KFIT and Izwan Ismail from VLTLabs

In this data-saturated age, it’s good to have the advantage of metric and make use of online marketing to scale your business, but keep in mind that any good business models can be executed successfully with a well-functioning team. How do you form a well-functioning team? It starts with the right hire.

We take this chance to help other startups explore different ways of hiring right by getting valuable insights from prime movers in Malaysia’s thriving startups such as Izwan Ismail of VLT Labs, Hikmat Iskandar of Belazee and Audra Pakalnyte of KFIT.

Keep on reading to find out how you can scout the right people for your team by starting off on the right foot with these industry-proven tips.


Clarify your Company’s Needs   

Hire Good Employee

Implementing certain hiring techniques to grab the right individual is a process that begins as early as writing out the job description for the role. By spending more time and presenting a detailed description and providing an idea of what the team culture is like, you would be attracting a different class of people, as opposed to if it was just a 4-bullet point job description.

Audra Pakalnyte, KFIT Malaysia’s Head of People Operation understands the importance of this and in her own experience of hiring a Product Manager for the company, she made sure to include vital keywords that would attract the right candidates that have “relevant product and industry experience” and “hold a strong visionary mindset on growing [the] business and product.”

So when you invest some time into curating a job description that is detailed and compelling, you’ll surely see a shift in the quality of applicants that you’ll receive –  increasing the chances of getting the right person for the job!


Never Rely on First Impression  

One of the common mistakes that occurs when hiring is falling into the trap of putting too much emphasis on what’s written on a CV. A way to overcome this is to not be too dependent on what’s written as it doesn’t always show that they’ll be the best fit for the role or the company.

As Audra mentions, it is undeniably true that most startups are keen in hiring “specialist and experts to expedite [their] business to the next level” but her advice is to focus and “look for passionate candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset who are eager to take on any challenges, have multi-tasking abilities and are able to work with minimal resources.” Hikmat of Belazee, on the other hand, looks for “smart passionate problem solvers who understands the benefits and drawbacks of a startup and are most importantly loyal to the [company’s] mission.”

What these two have in common is that they’re both looking for values that can’t be found in a resume, showing that it’s important to remember when hiring that a resume alone can’t affirm if a candidate’s values are in line with the company’s. So before you meet them, take time to do a simple background check on Facebook and LinkedIn or call their references to obtain more insight on their past achievements and performances. Your interview questions, on the other hand, should be used to ascertain if they’ll have the right attitude and amount of passion to bring your startup to the next level.


Implement Skills and Talent Assessment During the Interview

How to Interview Employee

Different company’s should have different ways to evaluate candidates’ talents and skills according to their industry to ensure the right hire. For example, Hikmat throughout his experience in managing a tech-startup, focuses on candidates’ skills and experience by having a tech-oriented assessment to ensure that what’s written in the candidate’s CV is up to his expectation. His practice is to get “candidates to fill a brief tech assessment and to filter their most basic skills before conducting two interviews: one by a senior team member, and then a CTO for approval.”

From the example above, you may use different techniques in gathering as much insight as possible about candidates’ skills and talents by curating your own set of assessments according to your business and industry. This practice can help you to see if candidates are eligible for the vacant position your company needs to fill.


Train Giants not Dwarfs

In the words of David Ogilvy, “pick giants not dwarfs.” Most CEO’s of any successful corporation put a lot of emphasis in hiring candidates who are better, smarter and ‘bigger’  than them.

However, instead of focusing on only hiring costly industry-experienced people to be part your workforce, Audra suggests that choosing to train A-players who can learn and grow may bring your company closer towards scaling faster.

This is an idea that Hikmat agrees with as he believes that “young minds are very susceptible to influences”, if given the right head start. Throughout his own experience, he has seen employees who have started off as interns as being the company’s more committed and loyal members of the team.

Izwan of VLT Labs view reflects Hikmat’s as he asserts that an “internship is an early stage of employability and it’s the best time to invest time and effort into them as they can be hired into the ranks of the team.” He believes that with the right amount of practice and effort, an intern can be molded into being a good team player as many of the VLT Lab’s team members joined as interns before moving up the ranks to being experienced seniors.

With the 4 techniques listed above, you can always refine your vision in hiring and pick the most eligible candidates for your company without wasting time and money. The choice is all yours, like what Steve Jobs once said, “hiring the best is your most important task.”


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  • Reply
    August 5, 2016 at 4:19 am

    I will immediately grab your rss as I can’t find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know so that I may just subscribe.

    • mm
      September 1, 2016 at 6:45 am

      Hi Bill! You can subscribe to our blog’s newsletter by filling in the form on the right-hand side of the page 🙂

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