September 3, 2015

15 Hiring Tips for Startups

BirdsIs your startup expanding? Are you looking to make a few new hires? Or maybe you’re just starting out, getting ready to build your team. 

Whatever the case may be, entrepreneur and recruiting expert Clinton Buelter is here with some tips to help you find — and hire — the best talent for your business:

1. Don’t Hire Just Because

Only hire because you cannot physically complete the work without another person.

2. Clarity

Be 100 percent clear on exactly what you need — and what you do not need — in a new hire.

Develop a realistic timeline and cost associated with finding and hiring this person. Expect to compensate at or above market value.

3. Follow a Simple Process

Don’t fall into the practice of “everyone has to interview each candidate (and fall in love with them)”. Use a small interview team. Interviews should total no more than four hours.

Three, four, and five rounds of interviews are a joke.

Make a decision.

Mentally, you have already made your decisions after the first interview. Now actually make your move.

4. Give and Get feedback

Require your interview team to commit to a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on every candidate — in addition to writing down their feedback, of course.

Writing things down is a pain, but it’s the best way to deconstruct how you think. If a hire doesn’t work out, or you need to hire for a similar role in the future, you can review your interview feedback records and make adjustments accordingly.

5. Hire People With a Similar Psychology

Effective hiring is a largely a matter of psychology, skills and educational background aside. You want to hire people who are reliable, trustworthy, and effective — people who will grow with your company.

Pass on “ninjas,” “rockstars,” “divas,” and coding “celebrities.” Their value is outweighed by performance (or lack thereof) and the fact that they require extensive management.

6. Develop Relationships

How many people do you know? How well-connected are you? Hiring is easier when you know more people.

7. View Sourcing as a Long-Term Investment

surfMost startups view sourcing and recruiting as  just-in-time measures. They’re not.

Finding people is a small portion of the recruiting game. Next, you have to contact them, establish communication, and develop a relationship (for the most part) online.

It’s not easy, and it takes time.

Your prospective candidates have lives and timelines. In most cases, you will have to court them for a period of time.

Move offline and into real life as quickly as is naturally possible.

As Warren Buffet says: “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.”

8. Remember Your Mission

Why you’re doing something is more important than what you are doing. In recruiting and hiring, your mission separates you from the competition. Use that to your advantage.

9. Sell the Company — and the Role — to Your Prospects

Share and sell the mission behind what your company is doing.

Sell equity — especially with your first 100 hires.

Sell personal growth for each the new hire — and align this growth with their goals.

Sell candidates on joining a large competing company if their motivation is all based on compensation.

10. Use Your Power Plays

Use executives to close key hires. They are some of your best salespeople.

11. Use the ‘Conference Room Test’

Hire people with whom you can be locked in a conference room for eight hours.

12. Be Generous

Be as generous as possible with your compensation package. No one wants to be or feel screwed over. You expect a lot from the people you hire. Reward them accordingly.

13. Make Your Decisions

Decisions are key in hiring. As the leader, it’s your job to make a decision. Don’t create another meeting. Review the outcome of the interview and make a decision to hire or not.

14. When Is the Best Time to Recruit?

ClockAll the time.

Transactional recruiting is the hardest and most expensive. Some of us are working to change this. For now, it exists.

When you are always recruiting, you escape cost and pain by having relationships in place ahead of your needs.

15. When Is the Best Time to Hire?

When you’ve found the right candidate — even if that’s a month or three before a project begins. It takes time to ramp up a new hire. They might find things that need to be done that you didn’t have spec’d out or prioritized.

Read more in Entrepreneurship

Clinton Buelter is the founder of ColdEmailForRecruiters. He’s a tech recruiter turned entrepreneur. He has more than six years of recruiting experience, starting at a staffing agency and working his way into technical recruitment for software companies like VMware and Glassdoor.