How to Find the Right Employees for Your Startup
You might have started your company with just yourself or a couple of partners, but you will grow. At some point, you need to hire employees. Hiring for a startup is different from hiring for enterprise companies. These first steps into building a team can make or break the success of your business. Plus, your business is your own, personal creation, so you want to ensure it’s in good hands. You want to work with people who “get it.” Follow these steps to find the right employees for your startup.
Define Your Values and Culture
Most entrepreneurs will say the most important thing in an employee is that they’re a fit for the culture. Employees increasingly say they want to work for companies that share their values. So spell these things out. You might know, in your head, what your values and culture look like. But can you articulate them? Have you thought through how they will evolve as your company grows? Write a clear values statement and describe your ideal culture. Include these items in any job postings. You can’t find people who fit until you know what you want.
Tap Into Your Network
People who know you personally understand something of your style and personality. If they’re in similar industries, and especially if they’re entrepreneurs, they’ll recognize your need to find the right kind of employees. Spread the work that you need people. You might already know the perfect employees. Otherwise, the people in your network may be able to make referrals. Just be clear about the skills you need, along with the cultural fit you want.
Actually Interview the Person
Startups tend to do things in a more casual, outside-the-box way. That’s great for stimulating creativity and innovating. However, don’t skip this step in bringing on an employee. Even if you already know the person well, or they come highly recommended, conduct an interview. Describe for the candidate what a typical day might look like and what you need from them. Ask about their strengths and weaknesses and their long-term goals. Then detail what you can offer in terms of pay and perks. Make sure you both move ahead with clear expectations.
Look at Work Samples
Here is another step that you might skip if you already know the person. However, work samples tell you a lot. Request multiple samples that are as relevant as possible to your business. Make sure you ask the person about their role in creating the work. Did they complete it from start to finish on their own? Or did they collaborate with designers, developers, writers, or others? A collaborative project can show you not only the person’s talent but their ability to work as part of a team.
Figure Out a Career Path
You undoubtedly have big dreams for your entrepreneurial passions. Remember, the people who work for you have their dreams, too. As you map out your long-term goals, include the career paths of the people who work for you. When you interview a candidate, lay out your expectations for how their role might evolve or grow in time. Let them know how often you plan to roll out new products or grow the team. Give them at least rough parameters for how often they might expect a new title or pay increase. And, set regular review intervals with all employees. That will help them stay goal-oriented on a personal level and keep them providing you with whatever you need to succeed.
Once you start to build a team, you will learn more about the best places to find good candidates. Just start from a strong foundation. And remember, you will be moving into a role where you lead not just ideas and projects, but people. Check out our previous post on becoming the boss!