How to Recruit the Best Talent to Your Startup: A Guide for Founders – PART 1

One of the most intimidating challenges for a startup founder is to grow from a 5-person team to a 50-person organization. Hiring the talent that best fit the culture you want to foster and that will get you to achieve your ambitious growth targets is no easy task. More importantly, in the beginning, you have to be really strategic about both who you hire and when to hire. Oftentimes, hiring top talent too early might end up in frustration for both sides.

In this two part piece, I will share some of my learning from growing organizations at a rapid and steady pace.

Hiring Challenges

Before we jump into the process, let’s talk about some of the biggest and most common challenges we face when recruiting and retaining the best talent. The problem is often this: You don’t know who you want to approach. So it’s crucial to spend a lot of time laying the groundwork for your hiring process, and defining your company’s ideal roles and team members, from the very beginning. This will help you figure out what kind of talent you’ll need, and then you’ll be able to clearly communicate that to candidates, when the time comes. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, though, that’s when the fun begins. This is very similar to deciding if you should take on certain projects, services or features over others. You need to be just as intentional with your people’s choices.

Where to Look for Talent

When it comes to scouting, there are three key steps to building a great team. 

Selecting a Specific Industry: Finding the best talent is never a once-off exercise. Rather than looking for the broadest pool, look for those who are passionate about solving one of your specific problems in a specific industry, be it Banking and Finance, Software Development, or Event Planning & Catering. 

Develop a List of the Most Qualified Candidates: It will help you set your vision right to go out and imagine what your dream hire looks like. What I suggest is to make a list of the most qualified and most fitting candidates for your team and revisit this list often to see at what stage you feel comfortable enough to approach them. Develop a list of qualified candidates, including people who you feel will be a good fit in your startup’s culture. Use LinkedIn to find possible candidates to invite for interviews. This step is crucial because it will help you determine if your company can attract those who share your vision and talent. 


The absolute most important aspect of your startup culture and hiring process, and perhaps the part that takes the longest to get right, is the actual interview itself. Make sure you’re taking steps to ensure you’re doing all you can to give your candidates the best possible experience. Set the mood. From setting the tone for the interview to thinking through your questions beforehand, there are a number of things you can do to make the process a positive one for everyone. Stress the importance of this role. One of the biggest challenges that any hiring manager has to deal with, is helping a new candidate realize if and why they’d be a great fit for your company. Use best practice guides to preemptively address their concerns and get the conversation rolling smoothly.

Consider the right interview questions to help make the best hiring decisions, first create an interviewing framework that helps you create a pool of people that is scientifically diverse. It’s extremely useful to consider this from a psychological perspective, as well as reviewing people’s body language.


Anıl Uzun