Hiring for startups done right – 7 tips to go from startup to maturity
September 19, 2017
September 19, 2017
Beyond having the courage to go solo and start your own startup, you need to imbibe certain values in order to stay afloat and keep your business Finding the essential individuals to join your startup is twice as hard. However it is well worth your time and effort.
Recent market surveys show the average recruitment cost for startups/mid sized companies to be $7,645 per new hire. Additionally new hires require 8-20 weeks to ramp up. The lost productivity in these weeks cost companies in the region of 2.5 percent of their total revenue. Being a startup founder means limited resources for training programs and recruitment. Hence the necessity to save yourself a lot of grief and money by taking charge of the hiring process on your own.
Those of you serious about turning into a successful CEO means you must don the hat of professional recruiter for your business. This starts with the first few hires of your startup. This initial group will set the tone for the company in its early days. Hence the added need to assemble the best team possible.
Technically this isn’t a hire. Though a very important role.
As CEO you are the most important ingredient in hiring the right staff. You are required to be selling, 100% of the time. Every meeting must become an opportunity to talk about your company and what you’re selling. Each meal becomes a chance to networking and create meetings.
While creating a team and raising the value of your business, your main responsibility becomes to talk to potential clients. This helps makes sure you’re on the right path to creating a product that the client needs. And one they’d pay money for. Once you’re aware of what clients will spend money on, your next step becomes to translate the knowledge into your next hires.
Being at a startup means you are almost always strapped for resources, assuming multiple roles comes with the territory. However, when your collection of hats does not include coding, it would be wise to seek out someone with both coding and product as strengths as hire #2. HTML & CSS tend to be the basic requirements, however throwing in UX and design skills adds to your business plans.
Back – end engineer
‘Full-stack’ engineer are not sought out by most – someone who can claim to carry out both front-end and back-end programming. Smart CEOs will seek out two engineers in the team that are specialists in each discipline; a front-end engineer focusing on the looks of the site and a back-end engineer focusing on how it works.
Your back-end engineer spends time setting up your systems too – from cementing your hosting to selecting the languages you would use as well as the primary version of the site. Whether or not you may be technically proficient, you must consider each factor as they will dictate the timeline in which you will be able to launch your company or product. The right time to change coding languages is prior to hiring a back end engineer- not when they’re six months into a project.
Integrated marketing manager
This role is created for an individual who lives, eats and breathes messaging and content marketing. Their skills include website copywriting, email drafting, client interaction, social media profile management, tech reporter liaising and maintaining consistency across all company marketing collateral. They possess an eye for design and are capable of working with the outsourced designer in setting the tone, brand and feel for your startup. A capable marketing individual takes it in their stride when menial tasks are asked of them and are high impacting team players who can also be the office manager.
Thanks to talent being in short supply, the war for top talent is on as we speak. The competition heats up amongst startups and as the CEO of your business you have that much more responsibility in hiring your next big star.
Keep these in mind when hiring:
- Ensure the time is right
Deciding on the time to hire is as crucial to growth as knowing there is a hiring requirement. The issue lies in too many entrepreneurs with funding trying to hire thanks to it being part of the business plan. The worrying signs is when there is way too much emphasis on filling out an organizational chart and ensuring each key title is filled. Try staying away from empty stats, org charts and titles. Focus on deciding the right time to hire. When hiring is in the spotlight, at time you would need to throw the model in the trash.
- Commit to invest time
Once you’ve decided the right time to hire, commit to invest your time. Hiring can be time-consuming and the temptation to cut corners is there. Your time now gets filled up with interviews and screening candidates. Even with recruiters, you are still required to read resumes and make phone calls.
Recommendation – set aside 1 hour every morning and late afternoon for candidate search purely. Invest the time set aside and you will begin to see candidates that could ‘move the needle’ in your business. Take shortcuts and you find a candidate that just ‘fills the spot’.
- Pinpoint candidates that work like a startup
It tends to feel like everyone enjoys the idea of working in a startup for a gamete of reasons. A few seek the financial upside, a few like the challenge while the rest seek out a business where their direct impact can be measured. Reasons aside it is clinical to ensure your candidate is wary of what to expect before joining you.
In case your candidate has worked in a startup previously, it tends to be a non-issue. It is highly unlikely everyone you seek out will contain previous startup experience. Experts agree anyone choosing to work for a startup needs to work as a startup and ensure success determining steps are taken.
It is imperative you explain the ground realities of working with you and your startup to the newly recruited hires. Ensure they understand their work hours and the challenge of working. The payoff however can be rewarding. The sooner they grasp this the sooner you can transition from startup to full fledged company.
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