Startup Hiring

New Member on the Team: Startup Hiring the Right Way

Most startups, as they move ahead of their early stage, understand that ‘running a one man/ woman show’ as a business is not the wisest option. Inevitably, realization about the importance of an effective team comes along. The right employees positively impact the organizational culture, productivity and even the top line. However, the process of startup hiring that precedes leveraging of talent, is often referred to as ‘painful’ and ‘unappealing’ primarily due to the dearth of the right talent. In fact, 72.8% employers are struggling to find relevant candidates. Another 42% are worried that they won’t find the talent they need. 

To on board the right talent, organizations need to get hiring right. While some best practices of recruitment are common to all types of organizations, startup hiring has its unique course. Owing to the particular needs and conditions of work, startup hiring can be a tricky process. However, if done right, your startup will skyrocket to success. Let us have a brief look at how to get startup hiring right.

Attitude over Aptitude

In a startup, complete departmentalization of roles is seldom. More often than not, individuals have to wear multiple hats. Therefore, to get startup hiring right, you must focus on getting the attitude right, aptitude will come along. This is not to negate the importance of having the right technical skills on board. The only point is to hire individuals who embrace learning with open arms. In fact, if you have to choose between someone who scores poorly on attitude and super high on aptitude vs someone who performs moderately well on both, go with the latter. Well, skills and technical knowledge can be acquired over time. However, a bad attitude, which repels learning is hard to get rid of. 

The Right Branding

If you feel that startup hiring just revolves around the candidates and does not take into consideration your organization, think again. Have you come across the phrase, “Your vibe attracts your tribe”? Well, the same goes for startup hiring, “Your branding attracts the quality of talent”. Make sure that your employer branding is in place and is positive. 50% of candidates say they would choose a lower paying organization versus the one with a bad reputation. On the other hand, organizations that invest in employer branding are 3 times more likely to make a quality hire. Make it a point to tell you story, communicate your vision and purpose, explicitly to attract the right talent. A bad reputation will only fetch you the bottom of the lot, which may not be the most effective pool for you startup hiring. Build your reputation by ensuring a good employee experience for your existing team.  

The Right Time

Most startups are lean with a limited core team. Startup hiring needs to be cognizant of the expansion plans and not go overboard. Not sure what this means? Well, the idea is that startups should only hire people when the need arises. Having individuals in reserve is not only unfair to the talent that is going underutilized, but is also an unnecessary drain on the financial resources. This is not to deny that having an extra hand or two is always advisable. However, having an entire army ready in the backup without any potential expansion plans down the road, may be going a bit too far. Therefore, to get startup hiring right, look out for individuals when there is a need.

Align Intuition with Process

How many times have you heard yourself saying, “My gut says, he/she is the right candidate for the role”? If you are an entrepreneur hiring for you startup, the answer would definitely be ‘innumerable times’. As startup founders expand their team, they seek individuals who come with the same passion and zeal to take their mission forward. And in hiring these people, intuition plays a major role. So if your gut says that the person will be good, go with it, but cautiously. However, complete reliance on intuition without any process may backfire. Therefore, have a robust process in place to ensure background checks, references, etc. but definitely give your gut a fair say. 

P.S. Make sure that your startup hiring process is not too long or complex. In an attempt to make the process too robust, you may just lose out on the best talent. In fact, 52% of job seekers cite lack of response from employers as their biggest frustration. It would be a good idea to just KISS: keep it short and simple!

Ask the Right Questions

Finally, keep your focus on asking the right questions. Gone are the days of asking candidates what are your strengths and weakness, because let’s face it, seldom does anyone answer that truthfully. Rather try to understand what their aspirations are and how they map their goals with the organizational goals, through subtle questioning and conversation, try to comprehend whether they share the same passion and zeal for your idea or not. Startup hiring is not about asking 100s of questions, it’s about asking the right questions that can actually help you judge the appropriateness of the candidate for the role. In fact, “How would you explain what you do to your family”? is one of the personal for a lot of startup founders.

Startup Hiring: The way to go

If you believe that you will get startup hiring right in the very first leg, you may be disappointed. However, as startups hire more and more individuals, the process will become seamless. In case, you still feel that startup hiring is not your cup of coffee and would like someone to shoulder the burden, we have got your back. With a talented network of developers, at Recro, we offer staff augmentation services to help startups and other organizations bridge their HR needs. Do you need them? Get in touch with us today!


At Recro we combine Design Thinking, Lean and Agile to help you achieve market-leading  performance.

We partner with our clients with the aim to transform their business challenges into growth opportunities.