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Entrepreneur Diaries: Finding the right talent for start-ups


Muhammad Chbib tells Kipp how to get it right when hiring.

May 28, 2013 6:26 by

It is interesting when trying to find the ideal talent for start-ups. It is a pursuit to find people with the perfect triangle of skills, personality and passion. Hiring specialists for certain roles is fairly simple; with a detailed job description and outlining a required set of skills, applications will flow in to match the same, more or less. In a start-up, however, skills are by far, not enough.

In every young business, there is a certain level of stress involved in the daily workflow: targets have to be achieved and growth has to be visible, in order to satisfy investors and keep the ball rolling. Adding an intimate work environment to that stress level can increase the pressure on people.

At Desado, employees work together, departments interact throughout the day, and no one stays hooked to the computer for the duration of working hours without stepping into interdepartmental meetings or ad-hoc conversations. If problems occur, solutions have to be found instantly. If ideas come to life, others have to chip in and brainstorm on how to make that idea work in reality. Even if everyone has a dedicated task set, there is no way results can be achieved by working in isolation.

A team spirit is therefore mandatory, to make things work in a start-up setting.

When we are looking at hiring a new employee, we therefore have to go beyond testing the candidate’s professional skills. We have to evaluate his personality, his character, and how he or she would fit into the existing family. Is he a team player, with a friendly, yet professional attitude, or a lonesome rider, who might even be a bit shy?

If we are convinced about the two first sides of the triangle, there is one more area of focus we have to assess – the passion and desire towards the project. If we ask candidates what they like most about Desado, and they cannot give a detailed answer, because they might have not analysed the site in advance, there is unfortunately no space for that person in the company.

Another important aspect to this passion and desire is the eagerness to create a business of significance, to create something big that lasts and be part of the team that creates this. A good candidate has the passion and desire, but a great talent has the hunger to be part of the next big thing.

Start-ups are passion projects that often require for a bit more effort and a bit more energy. Potential employees have to possess that urge to contribute to the success of the concept, to be part of seeing a business grow from crib to breaking even and beyond. They also have to be fully aware of the rewards their hard work brings along, as there is probably no better business school, than learning by doing, and a start-up is the fast-forward version of creating a business from scratch.

In all honesty, we have been quite lucky in finding people that perfectly embody the essential triangle of talents. Adding to their skills, personality and dedication – a bit of craziness, left-over childishness and a high level of creativity – and voilà, you have yourself a team that makes working hard seem so much fun.

Muhammad Chbib

Founder & CEO,

*Kipp invites new entrepreneurs to write about their experiences with launching, managing and growing their start-up companies in the region. This column will hopefully be the start of many to come in a series of the ‘Entrepreneur Diaries’. We ask you, as fresh entrepreneurs, to share your experiences with us and our readers. If you’d like to spread your wisdom, or simply tell us about your worst failures, contact us [email protected]

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