How to Recruit the Best Talent to Your Startup: A Guide for Founders – PART 2

In the second part, we’ll cover some of the remaining ideas about hiring in the early days of your startup. 

References and References

Before I talk about the skills I think are most crucial to building a great startup team, I wanted to talk about another key factor: references. As startups are relatively young businesses, they haven’t built up a great team of senior staff, nor hired and fired many people. Therefore, when you do bring on senior staff, you’re most likely doing it as a one-off hire. That is why you need to tread extremely carefully with these types of hires. 

The Search

Most founders won’t begin their search by trying to hire their dream team straight away, often it takes several months to a year or more to find people that they feel a good fit with. And, once you’ve found them, it’s important to make sure that it works. The most effective hiring process I’ve found is a combination of objective criteria such as educational level, work experience, skills and values, coupled with subjective criteria such as communication skills and soft skills. The objective criteria take into account skill sets that you can easily see on a resume and gauge in your interview, and the subjective criteria are based on who your team would be like in a normal day-to-day situation, with no prior decision making experience.

Hire Efficiently

When it comes to recruiting, the initial team count can quickly rise to over 150, with a budget of $100K per person. Founders should be aware of the difficulties they face during this period, and take certain actions to reduce the struggle. Shortening the recruiting process To make hiring an efficient process, there are certain criteria startups should consider when hiring, along with some things they should avoid. Consult experts where you feel you are out of your depth. This is where an experienced investor or board member could be useful.

Accept That People Will Leave

Finally, you need to accept that all the good people can either leave for no specific reason or, if they have an entrepreneurial mindset, they might leave to build their own startups instead of continuing to work for you. Accept this, and move on.


Over the course of these two post, I hope you’ve gained some deeper understanding of why startups might struggle with hiring right from the start and how to avoid common pitfalls that new founders face. 

First, understand what your startup is, and who you need to journey with to make it successful. 

Secondly, understand what people look for in startups. Your startup is not a business, it’s a team of people. Selling widgets, making a product, designing and shipping are all important to building a great company. However, they’re nothing without a great team around them. Show them your vision. If you don’t have a clear vision for your company, your startup will likely never succeed. 

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