How to hire for an early-stage startup

For early-stage startups looking to nab their first employee, the hiring process can appear daunting. Sorting through hundreds or possibly thousands of applications while applying to startup incubators, rallying investors and developing business opportunities seems like an impossible undertaking, even for the burgeoning Zuckerbergs of the world.

Growing startups can overcome this overwhelming fear by developing a plan and following these first-time hiring guidelines:

Make sure it's the time
Before you even think about contacting an executive recruiter for leads on potential candidates, take a second to consider your situation. Are you actually prepared to take on a new employee? According to Entrepreneur, you should look for a few key signs.

If you don't have enough time to perform tasks essential to your bottom line, it's probably time to bring someone aboard. Additionally, if you observe worrying weaknesses in specific, skill-based areas such as marketing or development, then a recruitment push is probably warranted.

However, resist the urge to hire when you can't pinpoint serious and definable pain points.

Need help hiring for your early-age startup? Contact a retained executive recruiter.Need help hiring for your early-age startup? Contact a retained executive recruiter.

Look for skills and potential
Once you've given yourself the green light, spoken with an executive recruiter and received resumes from the first few applicants, start the evaluation process. As you scan curriculum vitae, be on the lookout for skills first. In the startup world, candidates with technical competencies are more valuable than those with long track records and murky soft skills, Muse reported.

Individuals with quantifiable abilities can probably adapt and contribute to your business immediately. The more experienced, on the other hand, will require a longer adjustment period. Plus, technically gifted candidates with the willingness to learn can easily acquire soft skills as they progress.

Of course, when evaluating such prospective employees, don't take anything for granted: make sure to really test their skill set. If you're thinking of hiring a web developer, for example, have the candidate critique your current site on the spot and offer feedback. Evaluating a potential marketing producer? Ask for his or her portfolio and organize a simple writing test.

Think about onboarding
Before you bring in your new additions, build an onboarding process for them to follow during their first few days on the job. These programs are especially important in the context of early-stage startups, as most founders simply don't have the time to hand-hold new hires.

You don't need to put together a masterful training program – some reference materials, a task list and a kickoff meeting will probably do. If you've made the right hire, your newcomer should be able to navigate your fluid organization and carve out a niche, Tech Crunch reported.

Get some help
If you're having serious trouble and can't seem to attract the right candidates, ask for help. Chances are, you know a fellow entrepreneur who will give you some tips. If you want more direct hiring help, consider working with a retained executive search firm. These organizations leverage industry contacts to spot top candidates with enough executive experience to develop your growing business.

Does your early-stage startup need some executive recruitment assistance? Contact YES Partners!

To see some of the roles we have already successfully placed, click here.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

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