Hire the ones who smile

27 Jun 2005

Joel Welsh

Joel Welsh, Chief Community Officer, is also the CEO of a new startup company ... Showcase U. Joel shares behind the scenes key decisions being made in the "Birth of a Startup" and knocks it out of the park to provide his own entrepreneurial wisdom.

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Whenever you need to add a new person to your team, make the decision easy on yourself: just hire the ones who smile.

Smiling is awesome. The act of smiling makes a measurable positive impact in the physiology of a person. Smilers are obviously more upbeat and smiling is darned contagious. The StartupNation team just returned from the annual eBay Live! conference in San Jose. (We presented with our radio show in front of a packed house in the main ballroom. Look for this show to air on our national radio network on August 13.) I walked through the trade show floor passing by company after company represented with fancy booths with bells & whistles, free giveaways and lots & lots of “come talk to us” pitches.

The single biggest differentiator that had a bold immediate impact on me was the smile emanating from someone’s face. It was inviting, disarming and almost always caused me to smile back, putting me in a mood and mode of “hey, let’s accomplish something with our next words”. Sure, these people are trade-show sales-folk and they know how to positively engage passers-by. But not everyone was doing the smiling. The frowners were at a definite disadvantage.

Here’s my point … when you’re making decisions about which humans to select for your team, even if these people will only communicate internally with other team members and not interact with your customer community, you can’t go wrong with smilers! Of course you’ll consider team chemistry/fit (in my opinion, THE most important conventional selection criteria – and I spent 19 years as an executive recruiter helping companies make these choices) and a person’s skill level to do the job at hand, along with lesser important factors as you make hiring decisions. But when it comes down to that ultimate choice differentiator, go with the smile!

Entrepreneurs especially need people on their team who can roll with the ups & downs of the day to day life of a small business. A smiling positive attitude will go far in both weathering the storms and taking full advantage of the sunshine.

You think I’m being too simplistic? Go ahead … give us a smile and see what it does to your attitude and then your productivity. I double-dog-dare ya’.

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