How to hire and find the best people for your startup team

How to hire and find the best people for your startup team

Join us this week at Entrepreneurship 101 as we look at how to build your startup’s dream team to set yourself up for early-stage fundraising.

Last week at Entrepreneurship 101, we heard from top technology recruiters on finding and hiring the best people for your startup’s team.

“Some entrepreneurs underestimate the opportunity they have,” says Mandy Gilbert from Creative Niche and RED Academy, one of last week’s speakers. “How many organizations can truly offer a role for someone to come in and be part of growth, build the culture and maximize learning?”

Here are three key takeaways from their talks on finding amazing people and building your startup’s team from scratch. Make sure you watch the full talk below to gather all the insights.

1. Figure out what you really need and honestly can offer

Mandy says to be realistic about what you can offer to new employees and avoid overselling a role. First, figure out what you really need and create an accurate and attractive job description, rather than mashing up five roles into one.

Then, figure out what you can offer in terms of compensation, projects, expectations and growth opportunities.

Most importantly, be very clear and real about the role for early hires. You’re not hiring to fill a job—you’re building a team and a company. Your first hires will set your corporate culture.

Pro tip: When you’ve finally closed on a candidate, consider flipping the norm and have your new hire start on a Friday. Read Fast Company’s “Why This Tech Company Starts New Hires On Fridays” to learn why.

2. Understand what good people do differently

According to the LeadershipIQ study, only 11% of new hires that fail in the first 18 months of a job do so because of a lack of technical skills. Most fail due to poor interpersonal skills, lack of motivation and other problems with emotional intelligence.

Mike Fox of Brightlights says you should know what makes a good software developer before getting your first hires in the door. It’s not just technical skills. Good developers get into a flow, research before starting, get things done, communicate effectively and accept new information. They also can quickly find open source libraries to write code quicker and proactively identify root problems rather than going deep on extraneous applications.

Pro tip: Mike suggests reading Peoplework: How to run a people-first business in a digital-first world to learn how to attract good people to your company.

3. Build an Employer Value Proposition (EVP) for your startup

Daneal Charney, senior director of human resources at NexJ Systems Inc., says companies should have a value proposition for prospective candidates. Typically, tech startups operate in competitive talent markets and you’ll be competing with well-funded organizations for outstanding people.

The way you market your product and the way you think about the problems you’re solving says a lot about the kind of startup you’re building. Hiring is marketing and your company brand is what will attract talented and ambitious people, even in your early days. High-quality candidates are not looking for a job; they’re looking for a mission.

Pro tip: Identify the connections from your product to what you’re selling in a job to potential hires to start building your EVP. Would you want to work for your company based on the description? If not, start over.

Watch the talks

Missed the session? Watch the videos below to catch the discussion.

Part 1: How to Find and Hire Top Talent

Part 2: A New Hiring Paradigm

Part 3: Seven Tips to Create an Employer Value Proposition