5 Tips for Hiring During the Initial Stages of Start-Up

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By Dexter Lunde

So you’ve started to make your vision a reality. You’ve started your own business. This is an amazing feat. Just take a moment to really sit back and revel in your accomplishment. Okay, that’s enough. The next step in your endeavor is to hire some employees. It’ll be a slow process at first.

#1) All the Hats

Most people know this from first-hand experience: when you’re one of the first employees of a start-up, you’ll end up wearing a lot of hats. You may be hired for web design but you may also end up writing some web content, cleaning the bathrooms, and getting coffee – in addition to writing code.

Remember to constantly encourage your team members when they have to pick up different hats. Make sure that you’re also making everyone get coffee instead of just the web designer. Not only that but your team members need to see you taking up the slack too. If your web designer isn’t aware of you working hard while he’s taking on two or three different jobs, he’ll become restless and want to leave.

Let them know that it takes a village, encourage them, and make sure they know that there will be a pay off as soon as you start making your numbers.

#2) Experienced or Newbie?

So now the question is, do you hire experienced professionals or do you hire newbies? Don’t be afraid of hiring fairly inexperienced team members that came straight out of college. They will be happy for the experience and will give you their all because they’re not jaded with experience. At least not yet.

If they’ve been out of college for a year or so, they should know just how hard their market can be. Because of that, they may be willing to work for pittance at first but make sure that you’re willing to give them the raises that they deserve when the time comes.

There will be a time where they will be approached by other competitors and when that time comes, you will have to make the decision whether you want to fork over the money for that person or whether you want to start all over again.

#3) In House Promotion

When it comes to hiring more new employees, you’re going to start filling in more specialized jobs and roles. That means that the people who have been working with you for a couple years will be looking at advancing. Because of that, you may want to consider looking into an in-house recruiter.

Also, give your loyal team members (those who have been with you since the beginning) a chance to prove themselves in leadership positions. This can be beneficial to both you and your team. Have them train their replacements as they move up or have them show off their expertise in other forms. Don’t forget that they will need training in their new positions as well.

Every team member needs to keep building the library of knowledge in their heads. They should always be improving. Make sure that you are giving them the space to improve on their craft or expertise in addition to the tasks that you need them to do. Offer team members incentives to take classes and read up on the latest news in your market.

#4) Recruiting Agencies

Recruiting agencies are helpful because this will free up your time to do other tasks. There are so many tasks in the beginning anyway, it’ll be refreshing not having to deal with as much of the hiring process. Make sure that your desires and instructions are specific and detailed to the recruiting agency. However, you should also give them a range. “I would like someone who is proficient in [name a skill]. [Name another skill] isn’t as important though it would be beneficial.”

#5) Papers! Do You Have Your Papers?!

Make sure that you’re keeping track of all of the paperwork. It is necessary to keep paper trails from the very start. Go over your hiring manual (if you have one). Give your new team members a copy of the business handbook and code of conduct. If you don’t have one, you may want to consider investing some time and energy into a set. It will keep your expectations clear.

Now it’s your turn. What are your experiences hiring new employees or team members? Have you ever worked for a start-up before? What kind of hats did you have to wear? Have you ever been in a job where your employer asked too much of you? Have you ever had to hire people who were inexperienced in their jobs? Would you air on the side of inexperienced but enthusiastic employees or those who were experienced but cost more? We would love to hear from you. Let us in on what you’re thinking by putting down your ideas and questions in the comment section below.