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Making your first hire is a difficult step for any entrepreneur. Although you need an extra pair of hands to help your idea to grow, the demands of startup life mean you may be so busy and your resources so stretched that making that first hire can seem like a Herculean task. Without a doubt the process will be time consuming, but our advice will help you plan ahead to make the process as efficient and successful as possible…
You need to be prepared to make compromises. In all likelihood, you won’t be able to source the ‘perfect’ candidate as outlined in your job description. When thinking about the skills required for the role, you should try to sort the ‘nice-to-haves’ from the essentials. The more you understand your top priorities before you go begin the process, the quicker and easier making the decision will be for you.
Your ideal candidate is not joining you for the money, nor the job security: they could easily find that outside the world of startups. Instead, they need to believe in your idea and be passionate about its growth. To encourage this attitude, you need to develop your employer brand. What kind of company are you? What is your potential? What is your ideal working culture like? Not only do you need answers to these questions, but you need to convey these messages to all prospective candidates before the hiring process begins. Make sure your brand is evident in everything you do: from the job description to your website’s About page. This will sow the seeds in the best candidates’ minds that will help them grow your company.
As well as posting the role on job sites, you should make the most of your network. Your perfect hire could be hidden away in a friend’s address book. Contact your network and ask them for recommendations. This will help you to source passive candidates: people who may not be actively seeking a job, but who could have their head turned by an exciting startup. More than this, you will be able to know much more about these candidates before going into the interview, thanks to your contacts’ inside knowledge of them and their work.
The hiring process will be time consuming – there is no way around that. Some startups report taking up to two months to make their hires. In that time, you should be able to get a full, well-rounded impression of your candidates and whether you could work well together. To achieve this, alongside a series of interviews, you could ask prospective hires to work on trial projects for you. This will allow you to work more closely with them and get to know their style before you make your hire.
In summary, don’t look only for perfection, look for passion and belief in your venture. The right candidate for your job could be a friend of a friend or someone in the next office so use your network to seek the best minds and get to know your candidates well!
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