Hosted by Abeer Abu Ghaith – CEO of MENA Alliances that helps businesses scale their in-house teams by building remote teams of MENA’s top talent as needed. This session focused on team building, discussing its importance, and providing advice and tips as part of a framework that startups can use for an effective hiring process. 

The significance of hiring 

Human capital, according to Abeer, is the foundation of a successful startup. The team members represent the startup’s concept, vision, and mission. She emphasizes the significance of selecting candidates who are a good fit for the team. and cautions against rushing the hiring process and hiring someone who does not fit, as this could be a disastrous decision for the company. 

Hiring the wrong person can be extremely costly. Due to the larger roles each team member plays in a smaller team, losing one of these members means losing 20% of the startup because startups are typically small 1–5-person teams. 

Hiring can be summed up in three questions 

  1. Will the candidate be successful in this position? Do they have the EKS? 
  • Experience: Have worked before in this field? 
  • Knowledge: Have worked in the same industry? 
  • Skill: Can apply knowledge and experience in other applications or a different setting? 
  • Where applicable -Intelligence: Differs how its measured based on the industry and the situation, an intelligent solution to a problem in programming is different from an intelligent solution in human capital management for example. 
  1. Will the candidate genuinely enjoy this job? – Are they passionate about the job? 

Passionate people excel in their fields, so it is critical to determine whether the candidate’s passion is aligned with the startup’s vision and mission, as well as whether the startup can provide a fit for the candidates to do what they are passionate about. 

Emotional intelligence also plays a role in determining a person’s passion for a job, which is especially important for startups because interpersonal skills are essential for effective teamwork, problem solving, communicating with customers, and building relationships with stakeholders.  

  1. Will the candidate fit in and uphold the company culture? – Does the candidate share the startup’s values, believe in the mission, and can fit into the startup’s team? 

It is important to include questions in interviews to determine whether or not the candidate will fit into the culture, but answers to this question can also be found in the candidate’s actions throughout the interview and selection process, which can provide an accurate indication of how well the candidate fits the startup’s culture. 

The three A’s of hiring 

The three qualities that need to be present for a candidate to stand out and be considered as a ‘Grade A’ prospect. 

  1. Ability: Being able to do the required work. 
  1. Aptitude: The ability and willingness to learn new things, identify the source of a problem, seek a suitable solution, and apply new knowledge without being explicitly instructed to do so. 
  1. Attitude: Acting in the face of adversity, perseverance, and ability to work as part of a team. 

 The A+’s of hiring – If present, these qualities elevate the ‘Grade A’ candidates to ‘Grade A+’.  

  1. Self-aware: Able to admit when wrong, recognize their weaknesses and use others’ help. 
  1. Authentic: Accepting themselves for who they truly are.  
  1. Athlete: Adaptable to the changing requirements of the work. 

Real references: It is important to check the candidate’s ‘real references’ – a candidate’s previous employer or someone they worked with who is not necessarily mentioned by the candidate as a reference.