The first few hires in the early days of a start-up can be completely crucial to the success and longevity of the business you are trying to build. The start-up life won’t be the right fit for everyone – but for the right people, it is an incredibly attractive proposition.
To start off you need to get super clear on what it is that you are looking for. Every hire counts and every employee needs to be adding bags of value. Clearly define what it is that needs to be done, what that looks like in terms of an actual (realistic) job description, the type of candidate that will fit in with the company culture you are trying to build, and do an awesome job.
Next, think about how to find the type of people who will thrive in a start-up environment. As mentioned, it won’t be right for everyone – and in fact I wouldn’t shy away from being clear about that. The chances are, particularly in the early days, you are going to be looking for candidates willing to wear lots of different hats, candidates who are comfortable with a great deal of change, whilst maintaining flexibility and candidates that love the idea of innovation and the chance to be a part of something new and exciting.
To the right audience, positioning roles within start-up companies is all about the language. Growth, responsibility, opportunity, creativity, fast paced – all the words that resonate with candidates who are themselves on a growth trajectory, looking for the next exciting opportunity.
Honesty is also key. Sure, if it all goes to plan the potential rewards could be big for the first few in the door. But equally the risks are high, and it is easy to offer bonuses or perks that seem great when you are working with a handful of people, but can quickly become unsustainable as the company grows. Being mindful with what you offer in the early days (or at least how you position the offer) could end up being pretty important in the long run.
It’s also pretty important to have some great recruitment processes in place, nailing your employer brand, advertising to the right audience and making sure that your interview processes clearly evaluate for a blend of both culture and skills fit.
In a nutshell – recruiting for start-ups requires a little bit more of a niche approach to find the superstar candidates that could transform your business. But with a little time and care, the process could produce someone that elevates your start-up to the next level.