Hiring and firing: 8 ways to keep your company asshole free (Klaas Kersting, Flare Games)

You should really see this HackFwd video of Klaas Kersting of Flare Games, who talks about his experiences as an entrepreneur. Klaas has talent as a stand up comedian, for one, but he also has this great advice for any starting entrepreneur: “the number one rule is: don’t work with assholes, because it’s not worth it”

Klaas’ views on assholes in your company:

1. Of all the things you do in your life, you probably spend the most time with your colleagues. Putting time in choosing them is always a GOOD investment. Assholes seem to be a big problem for many people.

2. Assholes screw up everything. You need to build a product, ship a product, talk to customers. Since there are no or few formal processes in a startup, assholes will be involved in every aspect of your business. If and when the communication in your team breaks down because of the asshole, suddenly your entire company has a problem.

3. You can identify assholes by their behavior: they are sarcastic, interrupt people, don’t contribute and badmouth people like their former employers. They say “I” a lot. There’s an entire book devoted to spotting assholes called the “No Asshole Rule” that’s good reading.

4. You can avoid working with assholes by NOT HIRING them. Klaas advises everyone to ook at the human being behind the candidate. Professional capacity is a “by product”, personality comes first.  At Flare Games, applicants are met in an informal setting for coffee or tea before they even get a formal interview.  After the formal interview, they also get a test, a task that they have to fullfil and present before the entire company. The entire company has a veto over new hires. Don’t be afraid of giving this much responsibility to your team, says Klaas: they will realise that it IS a big responsibility.

5. Make your company culture ASSHOLE TOXIC, by stressing the value of communication and cooperation. Make sure assholes get kicked in the nuts by your team. This also prevents YOU from having to kick them in the nuts.

6. Don’t be an asshole YOURSELF. Asshole behavior rubs off on other people.

7. Think about the atmosphere in the company. Humans adapt to the situation that they find themselves in, and most assholes just come from companies where being an asshole was rewarded, says Klaas.

8. At Flare Games, everybody knows the details of the financing rounds, profit and loss, etcetera. Having this information enables employees to think for themselves.

You can follow Klaas Kersting and HackFwd on Twitter.

Here’s the video!

Klaas Kersting – Keeping Your Company Asshole-Free from HackFwd on Vimeo.

Keeping your company a*hole-free from flaregames GmbH
Photo: Flickr, Losttrekker

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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