You may have heard the saying “Hire slow, fire fast”, but is that accurate in describing the hiring process of a startup? As is often the case with umbrella statements, it’s better to view your situation at the highest resolution possible. While it makes sense to put thought into your hires, taking too long to decide can lead to you losing out on good people, and stalling the growth of the company.
In other words, do your research and create a hiring strategy that suits your overall business plan.
Describe Your Company’s Culture
Before you focus on the specifics, it’s important to define the culture you’re looking to create with your team. This will provide the basis for your hiring decisions and it will make it more likely that you draw the right type of people to your company.
Define Founders’ Responsibilities
If your startup is co-founded, it’s important to clearly categorize each founder’s responsibilities before involving additional people. This decision will then trickle down into who will be responsible for filling each position. Since managing a team requires a lot of coordination, it’s imperative that even founders are clear on what their position is. The same goes for single-founder startups.
Get Your Priorities Straight
While you might be fantasizing about having a talented graphic designer think up some funky merchandise to show off to your friends, this might not be the hire you need to make right now. Refer to your business plan. Are you better off starting with a salesperson? Or, maybe you need help with research? Prioritize the positions in your team and start from the top.
Keep a flexible state of mind when trying to solve problems. A partnership with another company can be a great way to get the services you need, without having to make a hire. Partnerships also have the potential of leading to interesting collaborations.
Choose Between Full-Time and Contract Work
Neither of these options are the right choice in all cases. For some positions you’ll need someone there at all times. For others, using contractors can be a great solution.
Find Candidates Organically
In the startup ecosystem, networking is a key factor in discovering your community. By meeting people with a similar mindset to your’s, you begin to build up a pool of personalities that coincide with what you’re aiming for. Use this pool as a source for your team, both by directly connecting with people who you think might be interested, and by asking for recommendations.
Don’t rely on stock test methods. Think about the attributes you’re looking for. Then, create test parameters that will give you the information you need to decide whether this particular candidate is right for this particular position.
This is Just the Beginning
Building a startup team that works is a real challenge. Because personalities are involved, it requires taking things into account that are impossible to measure. But like any task, experience breeds learning, which in turn breeds experience, and so on. Don’t forget to trust your intuition.
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