No startup, no small business, can survive without the support of a fantastic team. A poor team can bring a great idea doom, but a great squad can transform a mediocre concept into a profitable business due to sheer quality of execution. That’s why one of your foremost priorities is to find the right people to form your company’s core crew.
However, hiring great employees is a difficult task. It’s not even easy on paper. You not only need to find them, but you need to convince them that working for a startup – a traditionally stressful post with sometimes questionable job security – is what they want. Fortunately there are solutions to that problem. Some aren’t simple, some aren’t easy, but it’s what you need to do to make sure that the people behind you will give your startup what it needs.
- Identify What Your Startup Needs the Most
Finding the right personnel begins with figuring out who you need. You don’t hire a plumber to fix the wiring; you get an electrician. So the first thing you should do is sort out what your startup needs.
As the entrepreneur, you’re the startup’s first employee. Start by realistically and honestly assessing what your skill set is and what you have to offer the startup. Think of these traits in terms of logistics as well. Even if you could do everything, you probably wouldn’t have the time to do so. From here, you can start listing positions that would fill in the gaps in your capabilities.
Many startups will want salesmen, people who can help pitch their ideas. This skill is valuable on multiple occasions, from fundraising to getting clients and customers to purchase the product. People with managerial skills are likely to hit the top of the priority list as well, as your starting crew will likely grow into your core team and head projects in the future.
- Consider Looking Into an Agency
The hiring process only looks simple. On paper, it’s merely a matter of finding people and then hiring them. However, executing that plan will reveal the numerous moving parts and conditions involved in building your team. You might not have the time or the skill to do so correctly, and you might not have hired your human resources department yet.
In that case, you should consider looking to a hiring agency to help you fill your office. It might mean spending more, but you’ll increase the odds of finding the right people for your startup.
- Figure Out What You’re Looking for in an Employee
As an entrepreneur, there are many metrics you’ll need in an employee. However, several intangible aspects count as well. Attitude, level of passion, even communication style — all these cannot be measured, but they matter since these directly impact teamwork, as well as your direct relationship to them.
Finding people who fit your vision of ideal employee is important, as you’re the one who will have to work with them the most. If you can’t stand them or find them lacking, both you and your employee will have trouble bringing your A-game to the table.
- Build for the Future
Being an entrepreneur is much about your vision as the execution of it, and you need to keep your eyes on the horizon. For example, just because you can get someone to work at your office doesn’t mean you should. They may not be right for the startup in the future, after all.
Everyone you hire, you must intend to keep for the long haul. Your starting members will form your core team and will be people who’ll eventually become managers, project leaders, maybe even partners. Whoever you hire isn’t there for a month – they should be there for years to come.
- Hire Great Talent When You Spot It
Most of the time, the hiring process will revolve around the startup’s immediate needs. Due to your likely limited budget, you’ll have to focus on getting specific positions filled before others. However, there may be times when you’ll find the right kind of person for your startup, someone who you can see offering the company tremendous value.
While it might not be on your schedule, the fact is that great talent is hard to find, especially for a new company. If you see someone who’s willing to work for your company, then forget the fact that their position isn’t at the top of the “to fill” list. Hire them.
- Think About Whether You’re Hiring for a Long-term Position or a Single Project
There are a lot of things that your company will need to do throughout its existence. It will always need to manufacture or provide it’s offering, for example. However, there are numerous tasks that only need to be done once, like creating a brand bible or crafting a good logo. For those occasions, you should turn to freelancers. They are more affordable and if you do end up liking them and needing them for more tasks, you can re-hire them or sign them up for a long-term contract at your leisure.
- Hire People That Fit Your Company Culture
Skill is only one part of the hiring equation. You also need to find people who not just have the right personality but fit your company culture. That means they should hold the same values that you and your startup aim to embody.
Hiring with your company culture in mind is beneficial for numerous reasons. Not only will this reduce conflict down the line, it will generally increase employee satisfaction, reducing turnover rates. Additionally, since employees will happier, it’ll be easier to hire more personnel down the line as word of a happy office tends to spread.
- Tap All Available Networks
One of the biggest hurdles to forming your startup’s dream team is actually just finding them. Just because talent is everywhere doesn’t mean who you find is right for your business. You need to cast a wide net and pick carefully among who you catch – fortunately, you have a lot of nets to work with.
One of the best ways to find employees as an entrepreneur is to simple tap all available networks. Ask friends, family, and your current employees for recommendations. Make sure they understand who you’re looking for so no one’s time is wasted. You’d be surprised the kind of talent you can find by doing so.
- Hire People Who Are Different From You
There’s nothing wrong with hiring people who share a lot of interests and history with you. However, there’s a problem with that, one that affects you directly as an entrepreneur – the more similar people are to you, the more likely you are to agree on many things. That’s because you’ll often see things from comparable perspectives. This limits the breadth of ideas that you’ll get, which as a whole limits the startup’s performance.
Diversity and uniqueness is critical in helping your startup perform. Hire people from all walks of life. Between two people who are equal in terms of performance and ability, choose the one who thinks differently from you. You’ll be happy you did.
- Interview and Vet Everyone
Just because someone looks good on paper doesn’t mean they’re a good fit. There are a lot of qualities that can’t be seen on a resume. You also can’t trust a piece of paper blindly. Whoever you hire has a tremendous impact on your future, as well as the future of your startup. You need to be careful and do your due diligence.
Don’t rush the hiring process. Interview and vet everyone whom you’re considering. Find out, in person, whether any of them are what you need. Make sure their resume is on the level. It might take a few extra days, but it’ll minimize heartaches and turnover.
Creating a great starting team as an entrepreneur begins with the hiring process, but doesn’t end once the contract is signed. From there, you have to onboard them properly and make sure they’re equipped and ready to fulfill their responsibilities. It might seem like a lot of work, but if you want your small business to succeed, it’s what you need to do.