In a start-up company, every employee counts, and it’s important to have a talented, smart, enthusiastic person in every job. But you can’t afford to pay the salaries such employees usually command.
“The reality is you’re not going to be able to pay market rates as an entrepreneur. You need to compensate for the higher level of talent you can’t initially pay for,” says Scott Lerner, founder of Solixir, a seven-person company which makes all-natural energy drinks. “So you need to take a step back and take a careful look at the talent you’re hiring.”
That’s why the standard interview process won’t cut it for a start-up, Lerner says. “It’s not plug-and-play like it was when we hired at Pepsi,” he adds. (Lerner was a PepsiCo executive before starting his own company.) “You need to move beyond the resume and get insight into the person. You can’t do that in an hour-long interview–and references really don’t amount to anything.”
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