Startup success heavily relies on the people you bring on board, and one of the most important decisions for a founder is hiring seasoned employees. On the surface, it seems like a logical choice – an experienced professional brings a wealth of knowledge and skills that could benefit the company. However, this move may not always be as advantageous as it seems.
Attitude and Potential Over Experience
I firmly believe in hiring individuals who possess the right attitude and potential over just skills and experience. A talent with a chip on the shoulder pushes their limits. This creates an ambitious energy that is contagious for the whole team. Don’t forget a smart, hardworking, and motivated individual has the capability to learn and adapt on the job. On the other hand, a seasoned employee’s expertise can sometimes lead to complacency. They may be set in their ways and not open to new ideas or innovative approaches, which are essential for a startup’s success. This can create a culture clash and dampen the creative energy that drives a young company forward.
Entitlement and Less Flexibility
Seasoned employees often bring with them a sense of entitlement and higher expectations, such as demanding more pay, benefits, and perks. This can put a considerable strain on a startup’s limited resources and potentially misalign with the company’s stage and market conditions.
Additionally, seasoned hires tend to be less adaptable and flexible compared to younger hires. They may struggle to adjust to the fast-paced, dynamic environment of a startup and resist change, resulting in decreased motivation and productivity, hindering the company’s growth and success.
While experienced employees bring valuable knowledge and expertise to a startup, they may also come with baggage and expectations that could harm the company. As a founder, it’s crucial to weigh the potential benefits against the potential drawbacks and make an informed decision. In my experience engaging a veteran in projects and as consultant helps speed up the learning journey of the novice talent.
To wrap up, I’d like to share a glimpse into the thoughts of visionary leader Steve Jobs on the crucial process of hiring. Here’s a short clip of one of his speeches that sheds light on his approach.