In the beginning stages of any company, the value each team member brings to the table is central to its success. This is particularly true when it comes to startups, where being a team member is not simply a job, but more importantly, a lifestyle. Being part of this lifestyle means having to work long hours and irregular hours, as well as having the ability to constantly innovate and improve upon the business.

So what do you weigh when looking for new employees? What skills does one look for?

Each startup has different needs and subsequently, will look for different qualities in an employee, but there are certain characteristics that every prospective startup employee must have. Here is some insight into what various startup founders believe to be the most important skill that every startup employee should have.

7 Fundamental Skills for Every Prospective Startup Employee

1. Be Resourceful

Resourceful. You simply have to figure certain things out. Sometimes there are no books you can read, and no life lines you can use, so you better be resourceful enough to figure it out.

Monika Rydz, AuctionsByCellular

2. Learn Quickly

The ability to learn new things very quickly.

Adam Ierymenko, ZeroTier

3. Can-do Mentality


The most important skill is a hands-on and can-do mentality. In a startup you never exclusively do what you are hired for. You do what needs to be done, no matter whether this adheres to your skill set or not. Employees who cannot cope with this situation, should avoid startups.

Jorg Fehlinger, Artist Radar

4. Versatility

The most important skill every employee of a startup should have is versatility. All employees must be able to wear many hats and take on tasks outside of their comfort zone, as the manpower is often not present in the early stages of the company. A versatile employee won’t shy away whether his hands dirty with the code, talk to a client or do some SEO for their website. It is important to fulfill one’s role but also take on responsibility elsewhere as needed.

Muneeb Mushtaq, AskforTask

5. Passion

While specific skills are needed, being a passionate team player that believes in the startup’s mission is an absolute must. Employees working for a startup need to be flexible with a thick skin as their specific job description upon being hired will involve a few extra hats that weren’t mention.

Tim Nichols, ExactDrive

6. Adaptability

Adaptability and the ability to learn quickly! You’ll need to wear a lot of hats and learn lots of new skills, especially at the beginning.

Justin Ashurst, AppInstitute

7. Organization

There are multiple skills but perhaps the most critical skill surrounds organisation. In any given startup, there are a tremendous amount of tasks which require completion at any one time. The founder often has overall responsibility for the majority of this work to oversee completion. Without good organisation skills, tasks are often not completed to their full potential. Some tasks actually suffer such major delays that they become irrelevant or require a complete end to end rethink.

Robert Sturt, UK WAN Procurement Expert

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