Hiring Your Startup's First Employees
So you've decided you want to build a winning team for your business. You determined which positions are essential to your startup's success and want to hire employees for those positions. How do you do it?
From our personal experience and what we've learned over the years, we put together a short guide on how to hire your first employees.
Before we begin, let's make something clear: every team member matters. That's why we believe that it's more important to hire right than to hire fast. If you follow our advice, it may take you a couple of weeks to find your new employees, but they'll be the best choice for your startup.
Related: How To Build A Great Startup Team
Finding the best candidates
The very first question you should ask is: where do I find the right people?
You can try posting on Twitter or Facebook, which could have a good local reach if your posts are shared. But will you get the best candidates? Large companies usually use LinkedIn, but a small unknown company you'll have a hard time.
Instead, you should go directly to the websites where candidates for your vacant positions are more likely to spend time.
If you're trying to hire a developer, you should try StackOverflow. If you're looking for a business analyst or a project manager, try Dice. Other popular websites you may want to visit are ZipRecruiter, Hired and Monster.
And what exactly should you look for? We believe that every candidate should have three qualities:
- They must be talented in areas that the rest of the team doesn't master. Startup employees don't just complete tasks: they also give ideas on how to succeed. If you find candidates with experience in other companies, even better!
- They must believe in your product. This is quite tricky because most candidates will lie in a job interview. However, it's important for you to know that your first team members are fans of what you do and that they are willing to make sacrifices for it.
- They must accept a limited salary. This is the ultimate sacrifice: your startup will most likely not have a large budget, and thus your starting salaries will be quite low. But you can promise better salaries or stakes in the startup to get them motivated.
Choosing the best candidate
Once you have a list of qualified candidates, you can start the hiring process with a series of interviews.
Job interviews are quite difficult to handle - for both parts. Big companies have an HR department that takes care of the entire process. Since your startup will most likely not have an HR department, it's you and your associates who will have to do it.
We recommend you have a look at this short guide by The Wall Street Journal with great advice for new interviewers.
Our advice is that you have to be in control of the interview. First of all, you'll need to prepare in advance. Prepare some questions, make a detailed list of the job requirements, and find out whatever you can about the candidates.
Make sure you ask questions about everything. You need to get to know the person you're hiring, so go for topics other than the job itself: creative thinking, problem-solving, etc.
Also, watch their behavior. You can get nonverbal clues from their clothes, their posture and their facial experiences.
Afer the interviews, you can select the candidates you're interested in. You should do some background and fact check for those potential employees. After that, the choice is yours.
There's no way of knowing if a good candidate will become a good employee. You have to trust your intuition and hire whoever feels right.