As mentioned in an earlier post, a factor in hiring is the risk to reward ratio for both the company and the prospective employee. There is a perception that there’s potentially more risk for the employee than at an established firm. For the startup, hiring anyone into a small company is a risk because of the large impact a single person can have on the company.
Finding ways of mitigating that risk for both parties is a good thing. Jared Hecht shares his view on one method of addressing risk: start with a short term contract, or a trial period of you will.
The trial period is something that has worked extraordinarily well for us, and I think it’s something that’s also worked well for those that we’ve recruited. There are so many things that determine if someone is a good fit (personality, culture, skill-level, etc.), but I think the most important criteria is that you (and the person joining your company) both have a positive gut feeling about working together. It takes time and some getting to know each other before one can develop that feeling – generally speaking, I think it usually takes around 2-3 weeks.
The idea is to find out if there’s a fit between the prospective new person and the company. If there is, great! If there isn’t, everyone can walk away with no real strings attached. Most folks in a hiring position can tell you it’s very apparent early on how well someone will fit in to the company’s culture. They’ll also probably tell you it’s much more difficult to tell that from a regular interview, no matter how in depth.
So, if you’re looking for a job at a startup, don’t shy away from one suggesting a short trial period. If you’re currently employed, and can’t take the time out for a short trial period, you might suggest what Mr. Hecht does:
When this happens we like to bring them in after work or over multiple weekends to work on projects with the team. We’ll order lunch, and hang out and work for the afternoon and try to complete a specific project end to end. This gives both parties an opportunity to test things out in an abbreviated time span.
Mr. Hecht is the Co-Founder of groupme.com and former Business Development expert at Tumblr.com