While incubation centres provide the necessary infrastructure and mentorship support to startups, and angel investors and crowd funding aid them with much precious capital to grow the scale of business, albeit at a later stage, building a great team remains the toughest task for any young startup.
There are many challenges faced by startups with respect to hiring the right talent; from inviting resumes and generating interest in the (mostly unknown) startup to meeting high salary expectations of bright, experienced talent; staffing the right person for the right job is an uphill task for many entrepreneurs.
Having said that, great businesses are always built on the shoulders of great teams (think Apple, Facebook, Virgin); there is no way you can circumvent the process of building a high-calibre team and still set new milestones in business.
So, instead of stalling your startup’s progress, read the following tips to effectively tackle each of the steps involved in hiring awesome people:
Note: Before seeking resumes for a post, make sure that your online presence is strong. Have a nice website in place (you can make a free one on wordpress.com), create informative and engaging profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook.
1. Inviting Resumes
As easy as it may sound, winning attention of prospective employees is not that easy. The traditional (and also the fastest) way of inviting resumes is through job portals. Sadly, on this very first step, many young startups and entrepreneurs throw in the towel; reason, sky-high cost of posting a job on popular job portals.
But don’t lose hope; while the big players charge astronomical fees, there are few upcoming hiring portals such as careesma.in that allow you to post and manage job postings for free!
2. Scanning & Shortlisting Candidates
It is crucial what you look in an ideal candidate. While a resume tells you about the professional and educational background of an incumbent, it also speaks volumes about the candidate’s personality. A resume that is completely error free, to-the-point, and well structured, often belongs to a well-organized, alert, and meticulous person.
Don’t hesitate to call these candidates. Try to learn about them, know their story, and ask what they want out of the job, if selected. With no promises attached, this interaction would give you great insights on people behind the resume, and is even great for setting the expectation of the candidates.
3. Conducting Job Interviews
Meeting the shortlisted candidates is an important step in the process of hiring. This is the time when you, as an employer, and the candidate, form opinions about each other.
Many hiring experts stress that the first interview should happen at the workplace (if your office is in the same city), opposed to inviting candidates in a hotel or a coffee shop. The workplace, its accessibility and environment forms a major decision factor for a candidate, besides, of course, the remuneration.
Keep yourself free for the day of the interview, set in a little early and go through the probable questions to ask the candidate. Take some time to frame answers for probable questions a candidate may ask about you and your organization. Be prepared to share your vision and growth plan with the candidate. Take it no less seriously than meeting investors.
Remember, unlike a big corporate, your startup doesn’t pronounce job security for the candidates; hence, they would like to know the potential of the idea and even your marketing strategy!
4. The Money Talk
Remuneration is the big grey elephant in the room that you need to address (if you have not already mentioned in the job post).
Of course, being a startup (and most probably, bootstrapped) you would never be able to match the salary of true deserving candidates who is already doing well in her job.
Show the proof of your startup’s success so far; share the long-term vision and the candidate’s place in the core team. Emphasise on the point that in your startup, she would have more freedom and much authority in contrast to her highly competitive job in the big corporate with several bands of hierarchy.
Be inventive. Work out a basic salary and income sharing proposition for efforts in securing and retaining clients. Moreover, introduce elements in the job that are far superior than money; for example ownership in tasks, giving due credit, and above all, creating a great fun work culture.
5. Be Ready to Hire & Fire
Although it sounds brash and unsavoury, hiring and firing is an inevitable rule to follow until your startup is manned by highly productive, honest, and professional people.
Hiring is not a one-time process. You would need to keep hiring talent at every stage of the business. Whether your business grows or team members leave or you sign pink slips for underperforming employees, you would need to hire new people on a continual basis.
So, pay special attention while drafting that offer letter; make ample provisions to gauge and evaluate performances and reserve the right to confirm an employee only after a sufficient period of performance monitoring.
While you follow the above tips on hiring a great team (and we wish you the best for that), we would also suggest that you meet as many people as possible, trust that instinct and don’t shy away from hiring talent (or atleast making an offer) you spotted in the coffee shop or in a conference!
Afterall, you can spot talent almost anywhere...