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5 Keys to the Best Startup Hiring Strategy

February 12, 2020

You have an idea, a business plan, and maybe even some investment capital. Your dreams of growing your own startup company are rapidly coming true, but you realize that to grow, you’ll need help. And to scale quickly, you’ll need a lot of it.

While you may be knowledgeable about your industry and, of course, an expert regarding your innovative idea, you’ve never had to hire employees at scale across multiple disciplines.

  • Where do you begin?
  • How do you find, attract, and hire top talent?
  • How do you know if someone fits your culture if you don’t have a culture?
  • What compensation is reasonable?

The concept of hiring your first employees can be overwhelming and lead to paralysis by analysis. More importantly, making the wrong hire can cost your company thousands — money a startup can’t afford to waste. You need a system in place and to create a hiring strategy, fast.

Early hires at a #startup are the people who will set the tone for your company’s future. @IQTalent has tips you need to start on the right foot.Click to Tweet

According to a CNBC study of 800 Fortune 500 CEOs, a top challenge is attracting and keeping great talent. That’s more true for startups.

Startups don’t have the power of the positive employer or consumer brand of a well-known company, nor do they have the Glassdoor reviews for potential employees to research. Often, they may not even have an office! Yet, hiring the right employees can be the key to a startup that becomes the next Amazon or one that fizzles out in the first five years.

5 Crucial Keys to a Startup Hiring Strategy

1. Hire with Intention

Be intentional.

You were intentional with your business plan and your vision, so don’t settle when building your team. Take time to envision your company’s culture. Make a list of the character traits and skills you want your new employees to possess. What are the core competencies you are seeking?

Be intentional with the interview questions you ask; consider what is critical to uncover in an interview. These are the people who will set the tone for your company’s future and who hopefully will have the same passion you do for your new company.

SHRM estimates the cost of one bad hire can be as much as $240,000 when considering the costs of recruiting, onboarding, disruption, possible relocation, risk of litigation, and the value of your time. This is capital a startup cannot afford to waste.

Read More: 3 Ways to Win the Talent Wars in 2020

2. Hire People Who Can Do What You Can’t (Or Won’t)

We all like people who are like us. However, that’s not always the best way to build a strong and diverse team. Consider your strongest personal skills, and likewise, evaluate your weakest ones. Find talent to join your team who fill your gaps, the candidates who will be the yin to your yang.

How do you know if someone fits your #CompanyCulture if your culture is just starting out? Take a peek at @IQTalent’s keys to the best #startup hiring strategy:Click to Tweet

In a startup, the founder wears many hats. Which hats do you want to remove? Of all your job functions, which ones feel like a “job” and which ones excite you? If you hire employees who enjoy what you do not and who are good at what you are not, you’ll develop a well-balanced, diverse, successful team.

3. Consider Culture Fit

In the 21st century, corporate culture is more important to potential employees than ever before. Employees look for a positive culture that fits their personal values when evaluating their next step. And, with a small team, each member’s contribution to the culture will be a significant part of the final culture you build. The benefit of a startup is that you can create the ideal culture for your organization from the ground up.

Before the interviews begin, review your company’s mission statement and consider the office environment you want to build. You can use culture to present unique benefits that can attract top talent (especially if you can’t yet offer competitive salaries).

Do you want to offer a flexible work schedule or a casual workplace? Be deliberate with every decision you make, and with each person you hire as the impact will be the foundation of your corporate culture for years to come.

Read More: Maintaining Your Company Culture During Rapid Growth

4. Vet Your Applicants’ Skills

Can the candidate do the job?

Of course, you have a set of job functions that need to be accomplished successfully to scale your startup. Whether it’s sales or technology, you need to be confident the new employee has the skills and experience to manage the responsibilities with the position.

Be sure to assess and vet the candidate with appropriate interview questions, examples of past success, and even testing, if applicable to the position. In a startup, you won’t have the time to oversee each employee’s work and give them daily direction. It is imperative that you can trust a new employee can do the job and do it well.

5. Look at Potential

While you want a skilled and experienced employee, consider skills that can be taught on the job before dismissing a less experienced candidate with great potential and who is a solid culture fit. In a startup, work ethic, self-motivation, willingness to learn, and a collaborative spirit are all imperative traits. A less experienced candidate may evolve into an important contributor because they have intangible qualities that allow for real potential.

Are you ready to scale your team, but don’t have the time to research passive candidates or review a stack of resumes? If you know you need help, but don’t think you have the financial bandwidth to seek outside help, IQTalent Partners can help.

Our innovative on-demand recruiting model allows our team to become a successful hiring partner to numerous startups. We understand the unique needs of a startup and how to build a diverse team.

The recruiting you need. When you need it. Contact IQTalent Partners today