January 28 2016

How to Start Your Startup (Part 5): Hiring


While every step of the startup process is important, hiring is importantly important. So to advise you on this step, we reached out to Steve Cox, CEO at Steam Logistics. He was also the Executive VP at Access America. So, we’ve worked with Steve for quite a while and have always valued him for his expert skills at hiring.


And now we are going to share his keys to hiring success with you! Here we go!


Perfect your interview process

According to Steve, “You know what you need, and you damn well better ensure that you are screening that at interview time.” At Steam, Steve is focused on finding the best sales candidates. “We hire type A animal salespeople.” To test those skills, he likes to ask the interviewee to sell the most absurd thing in the room. “They need to think on their feet, and if they can’t, next!”


Like Steve, you need to hone in on the essential skills for success in the job and find a way to test those skills during the interview. The specifics of this process will be individual to your company. Just remember when creating this process that the importance isn’t always what school an interviewee attended or even years of experience. Steve values hunger over the content of a resumé.


Honesty in the hiring process

When offering a position to someone, Steve emphasizes the importance of clarifying expectations. They need to have a sense of the culture. What are the hours? Are employees expected to be self-starters and autonomous most of the time or are they expected to follow strict protocols and constantly check in with management? If you are investing time and money into hiring and training someone, you want to make sure they are going to stay. Onboarding is crucial, and setting expectations is a critical part of that. “We always tell our candidates that if they have any apprehension about their ability to do this job at Steam long term, don’t take the position.”


Hiring Interns

Interns, when managed correctly, can provide a mutually beneficial scenario for your company and the intern. It allows the intern to gain experience in the industry and assess if the position would be the right fit for him/her. And as for the company, “interns can be a source of inexpensive labor and a summer long interview.”


A few more important notes on hiring:

Remember when hiring that you are not auditioning potential bff’s. While being a culture fit is important, it’s dangerous to only hire people who are just like you. Diversity in hiring is a way of ensuring that problems will be approached with a variety of perspectives. Don’t mistake being a culture fit for being “just like me.” This can be a difficult distinction to make when first hiring. Just remember to always approach an interview with an open mind focused on testing for those essential traits you are looking for in an employee.


Thanks Steve for taking the time to talk with us about hiring. If you want to learn more about Steam Logistics, check out their website and follow them on Facebook. Do you have insights into hiring you want to share? Or maybe questions for us? You can reach out to us on our social media or leave a comment on this blog thing!



Next up in our series on “How to Start Your Startup”: We talk design!

This post was written by Katlyn Whittenburg, the Social Media Manager at Lamp Post Group, with insights from Steve Cox, CEO at Steam Logistics.