Finding high quality employees is a difficult task for any business. For a startup business, this task is more challenging for both parties involved. The potential employee may be hesitant to work for such a young company with limited history or even incentives. The startup business’ resources are likely much more limited than those of a competing large company meaning the wrong hire could spell doom for the small business. However, the hiring of an employee to a startup likely means that a) the startup is doing something right i.e., generating revenue and b) it has an idea that the new employee believes in. The right hire can elevate the startup business to a new level. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon summed up this idea, “I’d rather interview 50 people and not hire anyone than hire the wrong person.”
We caught up with a few business executives to get their thoughts on how to find employees for your startup.
Look for your admirers
Dylan Arthur Garber is the co-founder of Audien Hearing, a company specializing in affordable hearing aids. He believes that startups should seek to hire people who are fans of your business or product for a variety of reasons.
“If a person is already emotionally or mentally invested in you, your product, or service, they are much more likely to outperform another employee because of their level of interest. Passion cannot be taught, it either exists or it doesn’t. On top of that, a passionate person is likely to talk about their work or your product outside of work. Free marketing from a positive and personal source is a wonderful way to spread the word about your small business.”
Do not wait to hire
Finn is a company dedicated to the health and wellness of dogs. Its co-founder, James Shalhoub, advises startups to hire as soon as need presents itself and not to wait as problems can arise out of that.
“At some point in the life of a startup business owner they will realize that they have too much on their plate that they’re able to handle by themselves. It could be as simple as not having enough time to complete tasks or it could be something along the lines of not being skilled in a computer application or physical production of an item. Whatever the reason, it is imperative to bring someone onboard who can meet this need head on. Failure to do so can cause a chain reaction of negative events.”
Offer community, not just a company name
Jae Pak is the founder of Jae Pak M.D. Medical, a business which specializes in hair restoration. He suggests that startups should use their small size to its benefit and make work a place of comfort.
“The size of a startup lends itself to employees and executives having more one on one time and potentially more personal relationships, something that is hard to find in a large place of business. Communication in small groups is simply easier, provided you put the necessary effort into being clear about what it is you’re communicating. If you’re able to take your relationships with your employees above a work only relationship, potential hires will likely see this and be attracted to it. People don’t want to be a number at a desk, they want to feel valued.”
Utilize freelancers where appropriate
OXFORDhill is a hair product company which deals exclusively with natural ingredients. Their founder and CEO, Alvin Oommen, believes that the use of freelance workers in certain positions can be a creative solution when looking for help within a startup.
“Contracting some work to qualified people who are able to fill in the gaps is an approach which is becoming more commonplace within many industries. Not only does it help negate some of the costs of the traditional hiring process, but it can also lend some high-level skill in areas where your team may not be qualified. On top of this, building relationships and networking with specialists can create long-term relationships which can benefit your organization down the road.”
Find team builders
Dylan Trussell is the co-founder of Culprit Underwear. They specialize in comfortable, eco-friendly underwear. His advice to anyone in the startup game is to hire people who either have a knack for team building or are well connected within their industry.
“If you hire people who can do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to networking, you’ve found a way to potentially bring in some specialists you may not have been able to connect with otherwise. These types of people are generally well resourced within their field of work. Outside of this, there are individuals who have the innate ability to rally and influence those around them simply by being themselves. A sense of camaraderie within your organization should not be underestimated.”
Attempt to partner with other organizations
Personal Trainer Pioneer is a company which provides resources and advice to aspiring personal trainers. Their founder and senior editor, Tyler Read, suggests that startups should look to create relationships with other companies and nonprofits as a way of getting their name out there and networking with potential employees.
“Being the person in charge of a startup gives you a variety of options for how to connect with people both in a professional and more personal manner. If you’re able to collaborate with non-profits for community events, your company name will be much more visible, allowing for more potential unique connections. Likewise, working with other companies on projects or ideas in your field may yield relationships which could result in employment. Learning to associate your company with as many people as possible will create relational bridges which is always a positive.”
Keep your best people
Seb Evans is the co-founder of Banquist, a service offering cooking lessons from the world’s best chefs. He believes one of the strongest ways of attracting potential and desirable employees is to demonstrate that your company is staffed with experienced and skilled individuals.
“Those who are talented or highly-trained in their field will always seek out others who are cut from the same cloth. Most people don’t want a job where they won’t be challenged or can grow. If they’re likely to be surrounded by others who promote this type of environment, they’re likely to come aboard your startup. By retaining your talented employees, you’re creating that environment. Which sets you up for success in multiple ways.”
Cover all your legal bases
Western Rise is a men’s activewear brand focused on simplicity and versatility. Will Watters, their co-founder, and creative director, advises all startups to ensure that their legal processes for hiring, employment and even business in general is completely sorted.
“No person wants to work for, or even be hired by, a place of business that feels even remotely sketchy. It’s necessary to present all potential employees with the proper work contracts, tax forms, and I’d even go so far as to say the application process. A startup is a place of business, even if your establishment is more relaxed than your traditional nine to five with a suit and tie. As a place of business, you should treat all hires, even your early ones, in a proper businesslike manner.”
No matter how you cut it, hiring the right people on both a professional and personal level is a trying task that will take some time and effort. It is not an area where you can cut corners because your company will reap what you sow. The information above should prove beneficial to anyone getting their feet wet in this realm. But don’t expect to succeed right off the bat. Howard Shultz, the former CEO of Starbucks put it best, “Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture.”