Beyond the Founding Stage: It’s Time for Your Startup’s First Hires

Congratulations! You’ve reached a tipping point, and that’s a good thing. You’ve grown to the point where you no longer can do it alone. Now is the time to accept that fact and embrace the changes ahead.

Still, we realize that running an early-stage business with few resources can be overwhelming. Especially when you need to grow the company and fill key new positions. So, keep the following advice in mind to better meet your hiring challenges:

 

Know When to Make the Leap

The time to hire begins before you realize it. In most cases, if you wait around until you’re certain it’s time, you’re usually too already running behing the eight ball. We understand the reasons for putting it off, particularly the uncertainty of a new employee’s performance and their impact on the bottom line. You might be full of fear and paranoia, questioning whether you are doing the right thing at the right time. However, once you’ve made the hire you’ll likely kick yourself for not having done so sooner. It might be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

Be Patient

Just because you’ve now made the decision to hire, doesn’t mean you need to rush the process. Take your time and complete due diligence. Even if a candidate comes highly recommended by someone you trust, complete your interview the same as you would for anyone else. They may not be a good culture or team fit in the end, which opens a Pandora’s Box of new problems. If you truly only need to hire someone for the completion of a project, then consider hiring a short-term contractor.  Once the project is finished, you can set your sights on someone permanent who can contribute long-term.

Pick from a Healthy Crop

As a recruiter who interviews and hires people for a living, we empathize with hiring managers and the challenges they face. Once you meet an ample round of candidates, you’ll likely have a deeper appreciation of what you need and who you need and things will start to gel. Maybe you’ll circle back to the first person you spoke with, realizing they really were “the one,” but it took kissing a few frogs to figure out that you weren’t originally being overly optimistic or coming to conclusions out of desperation. The time spent talking to more people was still time well spent.

Be Transparent

Remember: You and the candidate are building a relationship, which ideally will be for the long haul. So, you both should know exactly what this arrangement looks like: pay schedules, paid days off, expected hours, reporting, day-to-day tasks, etc. However, you may only figure some of this out during the interview process itself. Candidates ask a lot of good questions, some of which you’ve considered but never answered on paper. Use the process to help evolve your job description, and ultimately the conversations you’ll have over time.

Don’t Just Replicate Yourself

When hiring, expand the tool kit. Bring on people who complement your abilities in addition to handling some of your current tasks. That way, you’ll get some responsibilities off your plate while also accomplishing more as an organization, which is the end goal, right?  If this doesn’t occur you should (1) re-evaluate the role for which you’re hiring, or (2) who you are hiring. One of them is likely out of synch.

Find a Utility-Playing Specialist™ (trademark pending) 

Startups have to run lean; which means everyone must pull their own weight.  Even when seeking candidates with uber-niche skills, be sure to screen their qualities for working outside their defined roles. It’s budget-wise to seek candidate who possess “startup DNA.” At HireLabs, we always screen for it.

Make Compelling Offers

Hiring on the cheap won’t work. If you can’t pay market rate, then you need to know what other perks you can offer. Maybe more stock?  More PTO or flex time? Being a pre-IPO startup isn’t the selling point it once was. That’s why you need to be realistic and make a winning offer than lands the candidate you need.


We’re Experts. We Can Help

HireLabs knows how to bring in key personnel for early-stage companies. After all, we’ve been doing it for years. We have a vast recruiting network and decades of experience staffing growing tech companies from coast to coast, especially technology startups. And we can help your organization too.

We always offer a free evaluation, so please reach out and contact us to discuss your hiring strategies and see what HireLabs can do for you.

 

 

Tom ThompsonHireLabs