Why You Should Hire An Ex-Business Owner

Entrepreneurism isn’t for everybody. Some may flourish and others may find themselves looking for work. For some owners, seeing an ex-entrepreneur or ex-business owner applying for a job at their company seems strange. Some think bringing in someone who tried and failed can be a bad omen but that’s not the case.

Despite a strong economy, hiring, for many independent businesses, can be tough. You want to recruit someone who’s dogged, someone who’s willing to take risks to get the job done, so why not look at hiring former business owners and entrepreneurs who have some experience.

Look online and you’ll find why ex-entrepreneurs are so sought after, and yet so many treat former owners like a dog from the pound – as something that shouldn’t be touched. However, these former owners can provide an immense benefit to your business, if you know what to look for.

If they’re a former business owner with first-hand experience, or an entrepreneur who exemplifies the art of hustling – an extraordinary drive – you should comb through their resume. It’s easy to find a candidate you like based on their relevant skills but you need to look past the tertiary items you see listed. Find their qualifications through past job experiences but don’t neglect the language used for previous job experiences.

Pay attention to how they word their experiences at other jobs. If they’re using words or phrases like, “Developed with,” “Designed with,” “In conjunction with,” you can assume their previous roles were subservient. If they’re using words such as “Led”, “Implemented,” “Managed,” “Forced” it shows me they were previously in a position of leadership.

If they own their own business, read what their roles were and pay little mind to the dates of operation. It shouldn’t matter how long their business was operational, what should matter is the initiative and drive it takes to take that plunge.

If you have the candidate sitting across from you and they mention the business they started five years ago folded, do you see them as a risk to the business?

Your answer should be NO!

Your ultimate goal is to hire someone who you don’t have to constantly stand over and micromanage, and whose decisions you can trust. Bringing a former owner into your company can bring about vitality and wisdom; they understand the minutia of running a business along with the complexities.

Who cares if they failed before? What matters is what they can bring to the table, and what they bring is knowledge, experience, and value.

Having a type-A personality sounds almost like an insult, but it can be a clear indicator of someone who’s outgoing, ambitious, proactive, and daring. That’s an exciting asset if you have someone of this caliber in your corner.

Sometimes, bringing in an ex-business owner who has a type-A personality can bring about friction. Me, I don’t mind a little friction because I like someone working for me who’s relentless, and willing to voice their thoughts and opinions.

When we’re hiring for a position at American Management Services, I look for someone who will fight for our clients and get them to where they want to be, someone who’s willing to get in the trenches.

I respect those who started a business. It tells you a lot about their work ethic. However, if they inherited the business from mommy or daddy, they aren’t a risk taker.

Be warned: Not all business owners exhibit these traits, but they’re more commonly found them.

I mentioned previously about having applicants sign a non-compete, non-disclosure, and adhere them to a pay-for-performance plan. There are no exceptions to this step when hiring former owners and entrepreneurs. Create a significant and detailed job description for that hiree and come up with a plan to hold them accountable to their actions and / or inactions. Also, no fancy titles should be awarded, either!

You also need to realize hiring former owners and entrepreneurs may bring baggage. They aren’t green, they’ve been molded by their experiences beforehand. Be specific about you’re expecting this individual to bring and what you expect of them; develop quotas on a specified, coherent timeline.

If you’re having trouble finding the right candidate, message me via Twitter @MoscaSmallBiz.

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