Start-ups aren’t for everybody. Working in recruitment I am constantly speaking to candidates from all walks of life and they have one common interest – they all want to be a part of a successful, fast-growing, fun start-up.

One of my favorite things about Wandera is having the opportunity to learn from the founders and management team. With their proven track records in building successful start-ups, I asked them what is necessary when hiring for startups – what attributes do you look for in candidates when building a startup?

Start-up survival kit

1. The mindset

This seems to be one of the most frequent attributes people look for when hiring for start ups. It’s imperative you have the ‘get up and go’ mindset, a smaller business relies so much more on its employees’ attitude to build something special and really make an impact. Larger businesses already have a brand, the support and the money in the bank that appeals to people looking for more job security, but can often stifle ambition.

2.The energy

Start-ups are small by nature, which means the environment can be quiet and for some people this can affect their productivity. The way Wandera has overcome this is by keeping activity levels high, once the team is mid-flow there’s no stopping them. Start-ups need energetic employees to create an atmosphere where people can thrive.

3. The ambition

Most start-ups are targeting rapid, exciting levels of growth. One thing a lot of us hear when interviewing is “I’m looking for a role that helps me develop and work my way up”. This is exactly the kind of attitude that enables success. However, in a start-up progressing takes a lot of hard work and tests how hungry you really are. To make this a reality, the company is depending on people to do bold, amazing things. That means not just doing things slightly better than before, but doing things radically better than they’ve previously been done.

4. The initiative

Start-ups love a risk taker who wants to grab the bull by the horns (not literally). You get your independence and a chance to shine. This comes with the responsibility to think fast and take your own initiative to get things done. There tends to be very little process in start-ups, managers will be doers and executors, so hands-on management time and formal training programmes will be much rarer than in a larger organization – meaning you need to be capable of self-direction.
The benefit of this is that if you have passion and talent, you really can go places and achieve remarkable things, as there are no constraints in holding you back. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re not sure and think you may get yourself into a little bit of trouble with the boss – then don’t be afraid to ask.

5. The passion

Coasting in a start-up is impossible. Smaller teams with higher standards mean that ‘good enough’ is very rarely, well, good enough. If you want the fantastic opportunities that start-up life brings, you also need to accept the price – lots of effort, high standards and collaborative, intelligent work.
These five attributes may seem straight-forward and obvious, but is the start-up environment right for you? If it is, knowing how recruiters go about hiring for startups is a great way to prepare!
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