Finding and hiring top talent for your startup can be a challenging task. It's not just about hiring employees, but rather about finding individuals who are passionate, skilled, and aligned with your company's values.
In this post, we’re sharing eight tips on how to find and hire top talent for your startup in 2024.
When you started your company, you probably had an idea in mind of what you value as a business. Maybe it’s speed, or delivering exceptional customer service to your clients. Or maybe you provide a very strategic service, and value providing exceptional work delivered by senior hires. Or perhaps you started your business out of a frustration with your industry – something you noticed that wasn’t working, and you pride yourself on NOT doing.
It may sound basic but write everything you value down before starting to hire for your startup. Even if this list is 10+ items, you can narrow it down as you go and start to define what your company will look for in candidates.
Why is this important in 2024? If you value speed – you likely don’t want to work with a hire who needs to be meticulous and is a perfectionist when it comes to shipping a product. Or if you value collaboration – you will want to look for candidates who can work with others just as well as they can work independently.
Before you start the hiring process, it's essential to clearly define the skills and qualities you're looking for in a candidate. If you’re a startup, your hires’ job responsibilities may often change - but still try to be as specific as you can.
For example – do you need someone to lead a function or a team? Or do they need to fill a specific role you’ve already hired for in the past? Once you know the problems you want this hire to solve, you can work backwards to determine the right seniority, years of experience, job title and salary.
Again - this may sound basic! But by starting backwards by listing your KPIs and goals for the next six months or year, you'll have a much better idea of what exactly you want a new hire to do.
A well-written job description is crucial for grabbing the attention of top talent and encouraging them to apply.
Start by highlighting the key responsibilities and qualifications for the role. Be specific about what you're looking for and avoid generic language.
But these are just the basics. To attract the best talent in 2024, we also encourage our clients to include the following:
1. If they’re not a first-time founder, what other successful companies have they started or invested in
2. If they’re a funded company, where they’ve raised money from
3. What series of company they’re in
4. Why someone should be excited about this opportunity
5. What exciting new projects the company is working on
Of course, of the most effective ways to find top talent is through referrals and recommendations. Your network can be a valuable resource for identifying individuals who might be a good fit for your startup.
Post your new role on LinkedIn, but don’t feel shy about sending it to your connections in your network too. Even if you have connections that you don’t think would be interested, many people are itching to join an exciting startup opportunity.
Recruiting from Scratch asked our followers last year what company size they wanted to work for, and 50% said a company with 100 people or less. So if you’re unsure if you can attract top talent, rest assured – we’ve helped our clients find hires for their startup from some pretty amazing companies.
Interviews and assessments are key components of the hiring process when it comes to hiring for a startup. They provide an opportunity to evaluate a candidate's skills and whether they can perform the tasks at hand.
We often see our clients give our candidates anywhere from 48 hours to a week to complete take-home assignments.
While it may take more time on your end to design and review these take home tests, nearly all our candidates are excited to complete these. Why? Reason 1: it shows the startup is serious about hiring them, and Reason 2: they get a chance to showcase their skills and how they work.
During your initial interview or screen with a candidate for a startup, over communicate your expectations and the process. This can include things like:
1. Your timeline: when you expect to make an offer, and when you want someone to start in the role
2. The number of interviews they can expect: do they need to meet with others on your team, or a panel?
3. Salary and equity expectations: this may come up as early as the first interview, but if expectations aren’t aligned when it comes to salary and equity, you should uncover this as soon as possible.
Before the interview, create a list of relevant questions that will help you assess the candidate's qualifications and suitability for your startup role.Use behavioral-based interview questions that require candidates to provide specific examples of their past experiences and accomplishments.
During the interview, pay attention to the candidate's communication skills, body language, and overall demeanor. Take notes and compare each candidate against the predefined criteria you established earlier. Do they seem energized and excited about the role? Are they engaged in the interview process, asking YOU questions back?
Check out our favorite interview questions and recommendations in these posts:
Additionally, evaluate candidates' potential for growth. Startups often require employees who can handle ambiguity, take on new responsibilities, and contribute to multiple areas of the business. Look for candidates who have a track record of continuous learning, adaptability, and a growth mindset.
If you’re a startup, you probably don’t have an onboarding process in place yet – and that’s okay! But once you start making your first, second or third hires, onboarding sets the stage for a positive employee experience and helps new hires integrate into your startup.
Create a comprehensive onboarding plan that includes introductions to key team members, training on tools and processes, and clear expectations for performance and growth.
This doesn’t need to be a designed PDF, or anything fancy – the content is what matters more here than the format. At Recruiting from Scratch, we build onboarding using tools like Coda. Everyone can access these, and we’re constantly able to add to them as we refine our process.
Investing time and effort in finding and hiring the right talent will payoff in the long run. Your startup will benefit from the skills, passion, and dedication of top performers who will contribute to your growth and success.