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The 5 People Your Startup Absolutely Needs to Hire

March 3, 2020

Congratulations! You’ve officially started your business. Welcome to the startup world, and what an exciting world it is. Now that you have a product, a business, and some sales, it’s time to hire your first employees. But discerning what positions come first and who will fit in the typical (often turbulent) startup culture is easier said than done.


You’re probably chomping at the bit to get some talent on your team — experts that know precisely what to do to keep the momentum going. Your budget is likely tight, so you need to be strategic and screen candidates thoroughly. You’ll want to look for a few key qualities in any startup hire: passion, trustworthiness, and (possibly most importantly) flexibility as responsibilities in the early days of a startup can often change and your team will need to wear many hats.


The first people you hire are crucial. Only 10% of startups are successful each year. To knock your startup recruiting out of the park, here are some of the first hires you need to bring onboard:

DYK: Only 10% of #startups are successful each year? @IQTalent says these are the 5 early hires you’ll need to stay afloat: Click to Tweet

1. Product Manager

This person will be the team’s ‘go-to’ on all things related to your product. They create a landscape for product strategy, vision, and actual development. They’ll work with both your engineering and marketing teams to align the company vision.


Hiring your product manager can be, understandably, difficult for founders. Founders are likely the initial product manager and are very much invested and hands-on when it comes to their product. This hire is crucial early on, so founders can focus on big picture issues. Find a candidate that you can trust to pass these responsibilities onto so you can focus on high-level business strategy.

2. Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Your CMO will focus on your buyers and how they perceive your product or service. Without them, your product just sort of...exists. You need to get the word out that your product is necessary. Hiring an experienced Marketing Officer with niche promotional skills is essential to make sure your vision is articulated, and your buyers’ pain points are alleviated because of your solution.


This person should also act as a community manager to maintain positive relationships with your target customers and field feedback while you experience growing pains that naturally come with product development.


Read More: The 5 Keys To The Best Startup Hiring Strategy

3. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Although startups may want to outsource their accounting roles, hiring a CFO early on is imperative. You need to have someone on your team from the beginning who understands the financial aspect of your company. They’ll need an eye for detail to manage all aspects of a company’s finances from the early stages.


Financial issues that startups face can range from office leasing, securing funding, sourcing everyday necessities, paying your suppliers, and managing petty cash. A startup CFO will need to view big picture finances down to managing the smallest spending decisions.


4. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

An experienced CTO — someone that specializes in tech development is crucial for a tech startup. Early on, your CTO will likely need to wear multiple hats and oversee product engineering, too. Sure, you can hire out freelance front and back-end developers, but an internal team member who heads up tech development will take charge and make sure product development is going in the right direction. This person will need the skills to oversee the integration and management of various systems and need to have the knowledge to make any tech-related decisions in the company.


Bonus: The Most In-Demand Tech Jobs For 2020 — And How To Recruit Them

5. Sales Manager

As soon as your tech is down pat, you’ll want to have a sales manager on your team. This team member will work alongside your CMO and CFO to focus on generating leads and, ultimately, bringing in money. The startups and small business owners who master sales from the get-go are going to be among that 10% that actually survive.


You’ve created a product or service, got some level of your business started, and even started making a little money — it’s time to hire your first employees. These are @IQTalent’s suggestions for early #startup hires: Click to Tweet

Once they create a solid sales deck that explains why you started the company in the first place, and begin bringing in money, you can start hiring more and make every position more precise and leverage candidates’ unique skills.


Startups often have limited cash flow and policies that ride tumultuous waters. Naturally, hiring for a company that’s going through rapid growth and figuring out their identity is sure to present unique recruiting challenges. Since startups likely can’t outbid larger, more established companies for talent, you’ll need to be creative and possibly leverage professional assistance.


IQTalent Partners is experienced with jump-starting startup growth on a limited budget. We understand the unique struggles startups face to stay afloat in a tight labor market. It can be tough to let others take control of any aspect of your vision of your company. We pull back the curtain on recruiting, giving our partners all the candidate data we gather with an hourly model that can be ‘turned up or down’ whenever needed. Find out how we can help your startup today.


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