Entrepreneur Tips: Finding the right people

Michael Levinson of oDesk says, 'Try people out for a period of time'

Lessons learned from entrepreneur by Andy Freeberg
September 1, 2011
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Hiring - one thing we hear time and again - is among the most difficult and critical tasks for building a successful startup. Michael Levinson is Vice President of Product at oDesk, a global employment platform that enables employers to hire, manage and pay an online workforce. His experience working for a startup that is built around the human resources issue gives him an unique perspective on advice to offer other entrepreneurs. His thoughts are captured in this short Tips for Entrepreneurs episode, “Finding the Right People.”

The people and talent behind companies are what drive innovation, create a competitive edge and move the organization forward. That’s why it’s critical to invest in recruiting the right people. Unfortunately, as Levinson explains, “The one thing people don’t do enough is to spend time on recruiting.” Far too often, startups focus on getting the next product or feature out, rather than finding the best person for the job. The result is that they either hire the wrong person or get behind and are understaffed at more critical times later.

But how do you find the right person? Levinson’s main tip is to try people out for a period of time. While phone screening and interviews are helpful, at the end of the day, working with someone directly offers the most insights on whether or not they’re a good fit. This is especially true in startups, where cultures and work styles really need to click.

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