If you want to build anordinary company, hire safe people.
This hiring is easy. Just hire people based on experience alone who fit neatly into your job description. These people will follow instructions and work within their space. These are safe hires. Once on board, you will show them their office and tell them what to work on. They will do it. If this is OK for your company, you can stop reading this article right now.
If you want the build aremarkable company, hire entrepreneurial people.
This hiring is more challenging. These people may not fit the job description. Hire based on their traits, not their experience. They may have had multiple jobs in their careers. Their past may be checkered with wins and losses. Their previous companies/projects/ventures may have failed. They may even look funny, sound funny and not fit in exactly into your culture.
So how you find dynamite?
I have noticed five character traits in individuals that indicate an entrepreneurial bent. Many of these can be tested or teased out during the interview process.
1) They Act First
Entrepreneurial-types would rather act than deliberate. The best orthopedic companies often don’t start with a brilliant idea, they iterate into one. It’s hard to learn from thinking. It’s much easier to learn from doing. Entrepreneurs are both doers and thinkers, but they usually finish their thinking long before everyone else does. They also get their hands dirty. They want to act. Ideas were meant to be executed, not discussed in meetings for hours on end. Entrepreneurial employees get fidgety during meetings, don’t show up to meetings, or have an urge to quit talking and start doing.
2) They are Attracted to Risk
Entrepreneurial types are drawn towards risk because they see potential there. They are almost always “optimists”. They believe that the time or money invested in a new idea will pan out and be worth it. In your company, they will often make or support risky decisions. Heck, they may have joined your company because of the risk in the business model. Outside of your company, often they can be found participating in risky or wild adventures.
3) They are Motivated by Big Challenges
Many employees shrink into the background when big challenges emerge. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, rise to the occasion. Big challenges motivate them to work harder. They become energized by the call for “all hands on deck”. These are the employees who are staying late and working weekends to solve the big problems. They lock in and become more engaged.
4) They have an Ownership Mentality
Entrepreneurial types think like owners of your company. This mindset makes them comfortable with ambiguity and understanding exactly how their role impacts and affects others at the company. In this ownership mentality, they seek out the most creative solutions, without constantly seeking approval and slowing things down. They don’t wait for managers to bring feedback, insight, and suggestions to every meeting. When things get really hairy the entrepreneurs usually stick around and try to help find the solution, while the others will leave your company for a more comfortable ecosystem.
5) They have an underlying Hunger
Entrepreneurs have an innate hunger inside them. They sometimes call it an “itch”. This itch is usually demonstrated early in life, in high-school or their early twenties. When you interview them, you often find that they have a side hustle, a part-time job on weekends, consulting, a patent, etc. They moonlight. Often their side hustle may give them added energy, enthusiasm, and creativity that they will bring into your company.
A Word of Caution
Your entrepreneurial hires may not feel comfortable at first. They may not work well with others on your team. However, do not be fooled. These entrepreneur-types are seldom lone rangers. They will seek out the right people to work with to make magic happen.
By nature, they will not respect some boundaries in your company that others take for granted. They have a tendency to come up with new and better ways of doing things, inside or outside their job. These entrepreneurial hires may add new stress to the organization. You may clash with them–desperately at times!
That’s the price of having dynamite on your team. They may change your organization, help you bring innovation to the market, and they may even change the world.