Onboarding is a very tricky exercise, be it for inducting employees at the root level or bringing in someone at the top. If it is related to someone being the co-founder, things should be really serious. Why? It is the leadership that leads any company on the success path. Besides, a right co-founder can possibly bring wonders and introduce out-of-the-box innovations to a company that the present leadership could never imagine. But the induction brings with it a danger of things going haywire if any unsuitable candidate mistakenly ingresses into the company. Thus, a lot of groundwork and homework needs to be done in order to decide a candidate for the top job.
This is why certain limiters need to be put in place in order to filter out the odd candidates from the really deserving ones. Here are some structures mentioned below which have proved to be handy in deciphering the minds of candidates and helping the human resource department or existing leadership screen the worthy from a lot of non-serious ones.
Here are the most important 30 parameters which are a must to see when or say before onboarding a new co-founder:
#30 Why the candidate wishes to build your startup and why now?
#29 What motivates him/her to join as co-founder?
#28 What he/she does when he/she has free time?
#27 What makes the candidate memorable?
#26 What are the personal goals that the candidate shares with the startup?
#25 Is your startup going to be his/her primary focus or he/she has a lot of other things to do as well?
#24 What will be the level of commitment/perspective of the candidate?
#23 What is the candidate’s opinion about selling the startup?
#22 What preferable roles the candidate will be willing/unwilling to play if he/she joins as co-founder?
#21 Check what the candidate expects to be on his/her onboarding process? If he/she stresses on simplifying the process?
#20 Is the candidate focusing on fulfilling short term investments or has a long-term sincere objective?
#19 What are the income sources of the candidate?
#18 Is the candidate stressing on bringing his/her own team?
#17 Ask about a candidate's opinion on raising funds for the startup?
#16 Ask about the best location for the business?
#15 Get an idea of what are the personal commitments of the candidate are. Is he/she married, has kids, family status etc.?
#14 Ask or research about the previous ventures by the candidate and why those did or didn’t work out?
#13 Were there any failures, how the candidate managed it/them and overcame it?
#12 What are the red flags?
#11 Ask whether the candidate has been an initiator?
#10 Meet candidate’s previous partners, if any.
#9 Ask what kind of culture the candidate would develop if given a chance to be the co-founder of the startup.
#8 What would be values the candidate would instill, first 5 persons he would hire and what would be the working style?
#7 Always check with references. It’s a free world and professionals understand that checking with references is a mandatory process in hiring.
#6 Ask what will be key focus areas, if the candidate is made in charge for the first 12 months?
#5 Throw some tricky questions like what he/she will do if the company is on the verge of bankruptcy, assess replies well.
#4 Ask what is the thing that would make him/her and the startup a winning duo?
#3 Don’t forget to ask about the legal aspect? Like, if he/she has ever been convicted?
#2 What is the candidate's aim in becoming the co-founder - is it building the product or service, his/her own career or an urge to be a decision maker?
#1 What makes him/her a suitable candidate for the opportunity?
These questions no doubt act as a firewall for your startup and would not allow any underserving candidate seep in. On the one hand, these queries help assess a person’s candidacy, these also help judge whether the person is a good human being.
Tricky questions such as what he would do if he would be asked to step down for the sake of the good of the company would help decipher his/her commitment towards the company.
Furthermore, every question asked has a purpose which defines and assesses the suitability not for a short span but for a long-term association with the company.
These questions act as limiters and easily disqualify an unsuitable candidate from trying to get onboard on the basis of sheer money power or reputation. Every question mentioned above helps understand the candidate better and also aids in deciding his/her efficacy for the post of co-founder.