The CEO of a 100-person startup breaks down the 2 most common hiring mistakes people make


Randy Nicolau Poppin

Randy Nicolau

Don't hire clones of yourself, says Poppin CEO Randy Nicolau (pictured).


Finding and hiring the best talent is crucial for the long-term success of any organization.

That goes double for fledgling startups and small businesses.

So, how can you ensure that you're assembling the best possible team?

Well, you could try avoiding some common pitfalls, for starters.


Randy Nicolau, cofounder and CEO of office product startup Poppin, told Business Insider many people make the following two common hiring mistakes:

1. Hiring people who are exactly like you

Hiring a bunch of carbon copies of yourself is probably the most common mistake that people make when hiring employees, said Nicolau. And sending in the clones is definitely not a good strategy if you're looking to form a dream team.

"It's a cognitive bias or something," he told Business Insider. "You have this bias toward people who've done things you've done, say things you've said, and think about the world the way you think about the world and that's not always a great fit."

Nicolau said that there's more strength in diversity. You don't want to end up with a company filled with people who think the exact same way that you do.

"I have a tremendous leadership team here," he said of his company, which employs about 100 people. "You would not have picked most of us to be college roommates. It's very different, what we all bring to the table. It's really about diversity of experiences and backgrounds."


2. Taking the job description too seriously

"You spent all this time creating a job description, which nine times out of ten is a total joke," Nicolau said.

He told Business Insider about his own experience with hiring a creative director: Poppin crafted a job description and began the search. Throughout the process, they had a very clear idea of what they wanted their ideal candidate to be.

Ultimately, however, they ended up promoting one of their own employees, whom they had initially hired for a separate position. He ended up being a perfect fit, according to Nicolau.

"He was not what we thought we were looking for," he said. "We had hired him for a separate position. You think you know exactly what you want. I think for some of these more nebulous positions, especially at a startup, you're really not hiring for one single role. You might be surprised by the folks that fit that bill."

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