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Hiring for Startup

A guide for Startup Hiring

July 28, 2022

By Team tawgl

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Startup Jobs : A Guide to startup hiring

Starting a company on your own is complicated, and hiring for one is even more. Hiring for startup jobs can be a complex process. Unlike established companies, startups don't have the same brand recognition, resources, or reputation for attracting top talent. Additionally, there is a significant difference in the needs and roles at startups as compared large organizations. To succeed, entrepreneurs need to be strategic and creative in their approach to hiring. However, some things can be done to get talented people through the door.

To start with, it's essential to understand why it's tough to hire.

It can be because of the size, uncharted waters, sector, questions on financial stability, role, etc. Sounds simple enough, but once this is thought off, think of steps to build trust within your target audience of potential employees. The same way you would do if you were looking at customers for your startup. 

How does one hire for a startup?

Here are 10 startup hiring strategies that have worked well for our clients who are Pre-Series A or Seed funded: 

  1. Founder's Attitude: It's important to realize that hiring at this level is very tough, so expect the expected - people would ghost you, drop off at the last minute, and during the interview, give you unsolicited advice on how to run your company, and more. All you have to do is smile, say thank you, and move on. Bear the onslaught of hiring for an early stage with grit and push through. The tide turns slowly but surely in due course of time. This will take time to set up, and you have to accept that.

  1. Vision Inspiring: The battle is afoot once the right hiring attitude cap is adorned. One of the biggest advantages of an early-stage startup is that a candidate gets to work with the founders directly. That exposure is invaluable. So, sell the vision, the kind of work they would do there vs. a bigger setup. The founder is the face of the company. Sell your story - What inspired you to start, your circumstances, how you got to this point in your journey, don't be fearful of opening up. The right person will be excited about your vision.

  1. Talent attracts talent: The second biggest reason typically to join a startup is the team. So ensure you build a core team that echoes your vision and conviction on your business and are good leaders. This, done well, is half the battle won. And good people attract talent, which would also help in subsequent hires. 

  1. Skill benchmarking: Be very clear on the skills you are hiring for and research how others are hiring for that in the market. Decide the pain point(s) you want to solve with that hire and stick to it. It's natural to want a combination of skills. Still, it's also a sure way to avoid getting the right person and being demotivated. This is a common mistake for first-time founders hiring for the first time outside their immediate network of references. Being flexible about skill sets and keeping an open mind may be very helpful.

  1. Flexibility: Offer more flexibility as compared to other setups. For example, Permanent work from home or an attractive hybrid work proposition is an excellent weapon in the founders' arsenal to get a leg up on other opportunities.

  1. Online Presence: Create an online presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Quora. And find some time to write online. You would be surprised how effective a tool it is to get the right kind of people.

  1. Recruitment Process: Avoid taking too many rounds during your recruitment process. One of the things that early-stage startups do is that since their stake in each position is very high, they take tons of interview rounds. That is quite counterproductive and can weed out the right people. Don't say, let's meet a few more folks and then decide. In such times, no one waits for early-stage startup founders to decide and get comfortable with the situation. Decide and execute at lightning speed. 

  1. What you give: This is specifically valid for businesses that bootstrap or as the early/pre-seed stage. Do give basic amenities like laptops - even a second-hand one would do. We understand the cost, and more so, the logistics of it are tough but still try doing this. It's basic, but you would be surprised how many companies do not do this. It will help with reducing costs on data security issues and reputation. 

  1. Offer ESOPS: Designing an attractive ESOPS plan isn't difficult and is a worthwhile exercise. Make time for it and make it a standard part of the offer letter. One good way to also judge the intent of the person coming is to give them two offer choices – One with more ESOPS and lesser fixed Vs. fewer ESOPS and more fixed income. Those who believe you would be successful will go for option two. If someone is keener on option One, that is also fine. Make sure everyone becomes part of your success story in whatever small way possible.

  1. Hire a professional: Last but not least, hire a professional that can help you with a smoother and faster closure. Paying a finder's fee is much cheaper than delays in finding talent or hiring the wrong one.

Also Read: What is notice period? And is a 90 days notice period required?

In conclusion, hiring for startups can be a unique and exciting process that requires a different approach than hiring for established companies. By prioritizing potential over experience, maintaining a flexible and efficient hiring process, and focusing on cultural fit, startups can attract top talent and build a team that is capable of taking on the challenges of building a new business. 

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