Bringing someone new on board in your budding startup is a big deal. With your first hire, you become an employer, rather than just an entrepreneur. And with that comes a new degree of responsibility and risk. That’s why you need to be really careful about your first hires – a great team is, after all, the heart of every startup. Here are five practical hiring tips for startup owners who plan to employ new team members and aren’t sure how to make their first hires a success.
1. Create a candidate profile
To make sure a new hire brings maximum value to your startup, you need to specify what skills and knowledge you’re looking for. You can do that by defining the projected results of the hire.
When choosing candidates, make sure to remember that the working environment of a startup is unconventional. A talented employee of a large corporation might not be able to work well in a small team of flexible workers.
What you should look for is creativity, drive to innovation and an ability to learn – these are the skills that will push your startup forward. Create a candidate profile with all the required qualifications and knowledge, then convey these values when interviewing candidates, and you’ll be sure to find the right people.
2. Stick to it
It’s very easy to lose sight of your candidate profile once you’re overwhelmed by the amount of work and simply want to find someone to do it for you. This might lead you to a bad hiring decision, where you structure the job around a candidate’s skills and knowledge, instead of sticking to your initial profile projected to actually benefit your startup’s operation.
3. Attract talent
After sketching your profile, you should make sure that talented employees know about your hiring opportunity. That’s when talent hunting begins! Create some buzz about the fact that you’re hiring – use your network and reputation to attract potential talents.
Be aware of what it takes for startups to find the right employees – some candidates are attracted to companies with active Twitter accounts, others find the best job opportunities through professional associations.
Don’t just rely on job postings – use all possible networks (even those of your team members) to draw attention to the opportunity and spread the word about the startup.
4. Involve your team members
If you’ve already hired a few people it’s not a bad idea to use their networks during your next hires. They will work with this person in the future so it’s in their interest that you bring on someone with personal endorsements.
You might offer various incentives for referrals that result in hires. This will also be beneficial to your budget, speeding up the recruitment process and saving you both time and money on looking for the right candidates.
5. Be convincing
Once you find a number of real talents, you need to make sure to maintain their interest in your startup. Communicate all relevant aspects of the job during the interview – schedule flexibility, social culture, benefits or a group RRSP.
If your startup uses cutting-edge science or technology, make sure to mention this fact. If your venture has a social mission, make it clear. Some candidates really want to make a change.
It goes without saying that hiring is a difficult process, especially for such small ventures like startups. It is, however, worth its trouble – talented employees are the most important driving force behind the success of every startup.
If you’d like to learn how successful startup founders translated their life experiences into startup gold, check these stories at Lend Genius.