This article first appeared September 21, 2011.
Naomi Simson, founder of online gift business RedBalloon, has an entrepreneurial story that every start-up should take note of.
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She started out in her front room and built the company into an online powerhouse, with well over $25 million in revenue and more than 55 staff.
Along the way, the company has received multiple awards for being one of best employers in the country. This is something Simson has invested a lot of time and energy into and she is justifiably proud of the way her staff live out the values of the company.
But Simson has a secret that might surprise you. While RedBalloon is very focused on people, Simson’s executive team has specifically requested that she removes herself from the recruitment process.
The problem, as Simson’s team told her, is that she thinks every potential recruit is a potential star and spends entire interviews trying to sell them on RedBalloon. Her recruitment team says this often leaves little time for actually asking some hard questions of the interviewee.
This struck a chord with me and when I asked some other entrepreneurs, it struck a chord with them too – we all said that we did exactly the same thing as Simson! We think our companies are so good that we just love to sell them – to investors, to customers and to recruits.
I am not suggesting that you remove yourself completely from the recruitment process – in a start-up that might not be practical.
But at least make sure you do interviews with someone else in the room who can ask a few questions that will actually give you some insight into your potential recruit.
Get it done – today!