Whether you're looking to fill a specific position or just improve your overall hiring process, read on for tips that will help you succeed!
A Quick Guide To Finding The Right Talent For Your Startup
Facing difficulty in finding the right talent for your startup? Here's a quick hiring guide for you.
You’ve got the idea, you’ve got the passion, and you’re ready to take your startup to the next level. But there’s one thing missing: the right team. Building a strong foundation for your startup is essential for long-term success. After all, your startup is only as good as the people working on it.
The right team will be passionate about your mission, have the skills and experience to help you achieve your goals, and be committed to working hard to make your vision a reality. So how do you go about finding the right talent for your startup?
In this guide, we will explore a few strategies for finding and hiring the right talent for your startup. From writing a great job posting to conducting effective interviews, we will cover everything you need to know to build a winning team.
Before we get started, it's important to answer a crucial question:
WHEN SHOULD YOU START HIRING?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best time to start hiring depends on your startup's specific needs and objectives. In the early stages of your business, it's important to focus on building the foundation and getting things off the ground. This means that you'll likely be doing a lot of the work yourself or with a small team of people.
However, some signs suggest you should begin aggressively recruiting new talent for your company:
Your startup is growing rapidly:
Hiring new members will help you keep up with the growth curve and ensure that your team can meet the demands of future growth.
You're ready to scale up:
As your startup becomes more successful, you'll need to grow team size to meet increased demand. Hiring new talent can help you do this while maintaining quality control and ensuring that each employee is fulfilling their role effectively.
Now that you know the right time to start hiring, let’s deep dive into the process.
5 ESSENTIAL QUALITIES OF A GREAT STARTUP TEAM MEMBER
There are a few essential qualities that any good startup team member should have. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most important traits and discuss how to assess them in candidates.
Passionate about your company's mission:
A successful team is made up of people who are passionate about the company's mission and what they're working on together. Candidates who share this passion will be more committed to their work and be better collaborators overall.
To find out if someone has this level of dedication, ask them why they want to join your company and what they believe its potential is.
Driven and motivated:
Just like everyone on a team needs to be passionate about their work, every member also needs to be driven and motivated. If a candidate isn't enthusiastic about the task at hand or doesn’t have any intrinsic motivation, they will likely become disengaged over time and struggle to meet goals.
To assess whether someone is truly driven and motivated, ask them how they became interested in your company's mission area in the first place and what successes (or failures) are attributable to their involvement with it so far.
Takes ownership of their work:
People who take ownership of their work are responsible for their results. They don’t blame others or look to external factors for why things haven’t gone as planned – they accept responsibility and work hard to improve upon what went wrong.
To assess if a candidate takes ownership of their work, ask how they handle challenging situations and identify opportunities for improvement within the company's goals/mission area (for example, what initiatives have been successful and where could there be more effort?).
Team members who are effective communicators can share information clearly, concisely, and in a way that is easy for everyone to understand. They create meaningful relationships with their co-workers by listening carefully and respectfully and offering feedback that is both actionable and constructive.
To determine whether a candidate has these skills, ask them what types of problems they have been able to solve through communication in the past at their workplace.
When someone takes the initiative to come up with new ideas, solve problems or take on tasks that aren’t typically assigned to them, they are the go-to people for working at startups.
To assess if someone has this skill, ask them how often they jump into action and what stands out as their most successful idea (be it professional or personal) within this field.
ANATOMY OF A GREAT STARTUP JOB POST
A great job post will help you attract the right candidates for your startup. But what makes a great startup job post? Let’s take a look.
- Start with an introduction that highlights what the role involves and why someone would be a good fit. This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many job posts are vague or leave out important information.
Introduce yourself as the company’s CXO, state your mission/vision, list what keywords you are targeting (e.g., “expansion opportunities”), and highlight how this position ties into those goals (e. g., “The Marketing Manager will play a critical role in developing and executing our marketing strategy to help in our expansion”).
- Be clear about the company’s culture and values. Describe the workplace environment, including salaries and benefits, what social aspects are available (e.g., offsites), as well as how work/life balance is valued (for example, flexible hours).
- Assess whether you have detailed enough information to evaluate candidates. Is every relevant detail included? For example, are essential qualifications such as education or experience required for this position? Do we have a closing date for the position?
- Let candidates know how they can apply (e.g., online application form or email), and what questions they should answer if they want to be considered.
Startups are all about taking risks and being innovative, so make sure your job post stands out to sell itself.
In the world of AI, you don’t need to start from scratch. Here are some of the best tools to help you write killer job descriptions.
SCREENING PROCESS: THE MAKE OR BREAK
Startups need to be especially careful when it comes to hiring new employees. After all, you don't want to end up with a team of slackers who are more interested in partying than building your business.
How you screen can significantly impact the quality of employees, you're able to hire. If you don't screen properly, you could end up hiring someone who's not a good fit for your startup. On the other hand, if you filter too much, you could miss out on some great candidates.
So how do you find the right balance? Here are a few things to consider:
- Consider using a pre-employment assessment. A pre-employment assessment can help you, screen candidates, more effectively. These assessments can test for things like job fit, cognitive ability, and even personality. Here’s a list of tools curated by LinkedIn to help you with the process.
- Make sure you have an interview process that includes multiple rounds of interviews with different people. This will allow you to get a wide range of opinions on your potential candidates and weed out those who do not fit in with your company values early on.
- What kind of employees do you want? Are you looking for top-notch technical talent? Do they need experience working in an office environment or do they need to be self-starters who thrive in an entrepreneurial environment? Be clear with these before proceeding.
- Don't underestimate the power of an in-person interview. If you have the budget, it's worth going all-in on this. You may not be able to get a candidate who is perfect for your company by phone or text, but you might just find someone ideal for the position after meeting them in person and getting their personality on tape.
- Be willing to make mistakes—but don't make them too often! It's easy to get caught up in "picking the best" candidates and end up hiring someone who isn't a good fit, which could result in high turnover rates and lots of wasted time and money down the road. Don't try to be perfect; just try to be good enough!
HOW TO GO ABOUT INTERVIEWING CANDIDATES?
As a startup founder, you will likely have to wear many hats and do a lot of different tasks that you are not necessarily trained for. One of these tasks is interviewing candidates for your startup.
While it may seem daunting at first, there are some steps you can take to make the process a little easier. Here are a few tips on how to go about interviewing candidates for your startup:
Compile Interview Questions
When hiring for a new position, it's important to ask the right questions in your interviews to get a sense of whether the candidate is a good fit for the job.
Make sure you're prepared ahead of time by knowing exactly what questions you want to be answered during an interview (we recommend asking around 20-30 questions). Here are some common questions you can refer to:
Start with an online interview
To avoid wasting time, you should schedule an online interview first. Here you can ask
- culture fit questions (ex: How do you manage conflict with coworkers?)
- questions about resume (ex: Can you explain your resume gap?)
- questions about skills and experience (ex: Describe a time when you had to make a quick decision in a short period of time
If you did not mention your salary offer in the job post, this will be the time to discuss that as well.
You can also refer to these questions while taking an online interview:
- Tell me a little bit about your work history.
- Why are you looking to leave your current company?
- What is the biggest challenge you have seen in your current position and how did you overcome it?
- Describe a substantial win at your last position.
- What was your favorite/least favorite part of your last position?
The in-person interview
If you have the resources and need more clarity about the candidates, you can always go for in-person interviews. There are many ways that you can structure these interviews.
Here are a few tips for making sure that the in-person interview goes as smoothly as possible:
- Offer the interview over email with several time slots to choose from.
- Send the candidates directions and parking instructions.
- Invite other team members to interview candidates, if applicable.
STEPS TO FOLLOW AFTER AN INTERVIEW
After you've interviewed a candidate, you should take a few key steps before making your final decision.
"DO NOT GHOST CANDIDATES. IT’S BAD BUSINESS."
An immediate follow-up thank you email
Make sure to send a thank you note after the interview. It's important to show that you know who they are and what they've accomplished, which will make them more likely to be interested in working with you.
Evaluate the candidate's qualifications
Do they have the skills needed for the job? Do they have experience working in a similar field? Does their resume match up with what you saw during the interview? Do you feel this person would be a good fit for your organization? Before giving them a green signal, you must be absolutely sure of these.
Discuss candidates’ personality traits with your team
Does the candidate seem enthusiastic about joining your team? Are they willing to learn new things and take on challenges head-on? Is this person open-minded—will they bring fresh ideas to your company? Think about what your mindset was and when you started the venture. You should be bringing new team members who think along similar lines.
After you've done your due diligence, you should trust your instincts on whether or not the candidate is a good fit for your company.
AFTER ROLLING OUT THE JOB OFFER
Can you pat yourself on your back for making a job offer? Not yet! The real struggle starts here. Now you need to convince the candidate to join your team.
Worried? You should be. Else your candidate would be poached by any other company.
There are many reasons why candidates drop off after accepting job offers. A better offer in hand is the most common reason you would hear.
The reasons related to communication & candidate experience, such as poor communication from the company after rolling out the offer, can be easily fixed with a structured preboarding process for your new hires and significantly reduce your dropoffs.
Preboarding is an engagement process with your new hire after they accept your job offer till the day they join your organization.
In this guide, we have explained how you can improve your offer-to-joining rate.
In the end, remember that great hires are not just about how smart they are or their skill-set. Great hires know how to collaborate and communicate well with others at a given time. They also understand what your company values in terms of work culture and can adapt themselves accordingly to fit in there.
Do keep these tips in mind the next time you need to hire someone for your startup.
If you are feeling stuck or not able to find the right candidates, we’re always there to help. Just book a call with us and let’s identify your hiring bottlenecks.