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Startup Recruiting: 4 Tips to Find the Right People

How do you take your new business from where you are to where you want to be? After developing your product or service, the start-up recruiting process will likely be high on your list of priorities.

Why? Hiring the right people can help you transform your business and grow faster. But there can be some hurdles to overcome with the startup recruiting process that established businesses don’t have to worry about as much.

You might not have a lot of name-brand recognition yet. Don’t worry...Nike was an unknown shoe company once, so there’s potential. You’ve also got to be able to hire the right people at rates you can afford. But these are totally manageable start-up recruiting challenges you can handle.

Ready to staff your new venture with the right people?

4 Startup Recruiting Tips

1. Get crystal clear on your mission

When you post a job or reach out to your network about job opportunities to help grow a start-up people want to know what your company is all about. What’s your mission? It’s one of the ways you can help attract the right people. 

Get crystal clear on your mission and vision for growth, and potential candidates will use that to weigh their options—apply or move on. If your mission aligns with their values and career goals, it’s an opportunity to start a conversation. That’s where you might find your first star employee. 

The right skill set is important, but industry trends suggest people who demonstrate commitment and loyalty to help your company succeed tend to be the best hires for startups.

2. Stay lean as you grow

When you’re in startup mode, there’s usually a tendency to try and bootstrap everything on your own. At first, it seems like a smart way to save money. But chances are pretty good you’re not an expert at everything (web design, engineering, accounting, graphic design, sales, and marketing). Remember, your time is valuable.

So how do you grow your team the right way? Stay lean as you grow. Hire core talent to help you. As soon as you reach a roadblock that has too big of a learning curve for you or your team to handle, consider it time to take the next step in the startup recruiting process. Hire a pro or expert to do the work. 

You might stall thinking you’re going to save money and try and figure it out. But if you hire great people and stay lean as you grow, making your next needed hire will be worth it.

3. Reach out to your ideal candidate

When you’re in startup mode, you don’t have time to wait around for the right people to send in their resume, filter through applications, and pick the best candidates from rounds of interviews. That kind of hiring process generally comes later. If you’re looking to speed up the startup recruiting process, reach out to your ideal hire on LinkedIn, via email, or in your networking groups.

Your ideal candidate is probably working somewhere else. Maybe they even love their job and haven’t even thought about leaving. That’s fine. Reaching out doesn't hurt. 

Let them know what you’re up to, and ask if you can take them to coffee or jump on a call. No pressure and no obligation. Be friendly and conversational. Personalize your message and plant a seed to get them thinking about a new opportunity.

Even if it doesn’t pan out and they’re not going to join your startup, they can be a great referral resource to help you build your team faster. Hiring is all about luck and timing, so even if these candidates can't join now, they might be someone you hire at a later stage. 

4. Ask great questions

So you’ve got the attention of a potential new hire from your startup recruiting process—now what?

Ask great questions. They don’t even have to be skills-assessment questions that pertain to the specific role you’re trying to fill. The right questions can reveal a lot about a candidate’s work ethic, self-discipline, and passion for their job or the type of work you do. Some great questions or conversation starters to use in a startup recruiting interview:

  • Tell me about one of your best days at work. What went well?
  • What kind of activities make you happy when you’re not at work?
  • What would your best friend say is your most notable quirk?
  • If you had your choice, work alone or part of a team. Why?

Don't forget those behavioral questions too. It's critical to remember, some people are just good at interviewing. Using the STAR interviewing method will help you really drill into past projects and their work history. Questions like these help you get a sense of what motivates people, what makes them happy, and how they get along with others. In the startup environment, it’s important to build a team of people who can work together.

Use these startup recruiting tips to build your team

Ready to begin making hires to grow your startup? At first, it’s just you. But if you want to scale faster, you need to build a team to help you make it happen. Use these startup recruiting tips to find the right people.

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