How to find the right talent for your startup

By October 4, 2017September 7th, 2018Staff, Start ups


Finding staff for a startup can be tricky especially for those used to hiring for established and more traditional businesses. This is especially true in the early days. In this article we’ll take a look at why that is and some tactics you can use to find the right people for your team.

Why is a startup different to a traditional business when it comes to finding staff?

Startups, by definition, involve a reasonable level of risk. There is risk the business might not go the distance and the risk of working really long hours among others. These risks are counterbalanced by the opportunity to work at something new and exciting, something that will hopefully grow rapidly and something that, fingers crossed, will result in a pay day for early hires in the form of shares and options that have increased in value.

Now you need to ask yourself, what kind of person is attracted to the high level of risk (and potential reward) that comes from working in this kind of venture? There are those people that you want to surround yourself with – highly motivated, hard working types that really believe in the values and the product the startup is producing. What you don’t want are people that are just in it to be part of the startup ‘scene’, those looking to become famous (the next Zuckerberg!) or those just looking for a payday.

For these reasons and more, finding staff for a startup, especially in the early days, is quite a different proposition than it is for people running more traditional businesses.

More great articles on staff and teams:

Now, on to the good stuff …

What tips are there for finding the right people for your startup?

  1. Hire people you know well. This will typically be friends or people you’ve worked with previously that you know can do the job. They’ll tick all of the boxes (i.e. skills, aptitude, attitude, etc.) and by hiring someone you already know you’re removing some of the risk from the situation (e.g. they don’t turn into complete monsters two weeks in).
  2. Ask for referrals. If you’ve got brilliant team members, chances are they’ll know more brilliant folks that would love to come and work for you. Apparently at Facebook the HR people visit all new hires and pester them into handing over names of people they think would be a good fit for Facebook. Find out what works, then find more of it!
  3. If that fails? If you need to publicly advertise for the role then your hiring process needs to be really robust. It should include multiple stages and get the opinions of a range of people. Early hires for a startup are incredibly important and the hiring process should be slow and deliberate. A few tips here:
    • Skills can be taught, attitude cannot
    • Personality profilers can save time especially when you’ve got a great team member to model the requirements from
    • Quick phone interviews after vetting initial applications saves time
    • When interviewing, find out about them as a person, not as a collection of qualifications or skills

Just remember that age old expression – hire slow, fire fast. It’s a tough one to adhere to at times, especially when you just want to get on with building your business, but it’s definitely something you’ll benefit from in the long run.

Want a no risk opportunity to talk about the HR issues in your business? Why not call us and see if we can relieve the pressure?  Yes, we’re an accounting firm, but through our advisory arm we’re able to offer top-notch business coaches that are well versed in all things HR. We’re happy to offer the first meeting free and we’d love to help. You can get in touch with us here.