New startups are sprouting up left and right. Just last year, companies such as Fastwork began establishing themselves in their respective markets across Asia, and are growing at an impressive rate. Success stories such as these bring up an interesting question: What makes startups thrive?
The answer to this will vary depending on who you talk to, and what their experiences have been like out in the field. But for the most part, one key thing that’ll help your startup succeed despite all the odds will be the team that you surround yourself with. Your talent base is the lifeblood of your startup, and finding the right people to climb the proverbial mountains with you is half the battle.
But like most startups, this may be the first time that you’ll be going through the motions of the hiring process. Don’t worry, as this guide will cover all the key things you’ll need to know about how to find, hire, and keep the right talent.
Why the Hiring Process is Important
One undeniable truth to entrepreneurship is that your startup will live and die by your team. With this in mind, Ron Leshem’s Inc. article on ideas and execution encourages leaders to change the way they look at business. Instead of looking at business as a concept and something abstract, it would be more productive to look at it as an action. This is the reason why the hiring process is so crucial, as your team will be enacting your vision on your behalf. To be successful, you’ll need to find like-minded individuals that you can trust to execute your ambitions, as you’ll only go as far as they can take you.
This also helps explain why getting this part wrong could spell trouble for your startup. CB Insights analyzed a list of startup failure post-mortems to find out the top reasons why startups fail. As it turns out, having the wrong team was the third most common reason why ventures of all kinds fail. This points to the fact that good ideas are a dime a dozen, but hiring a good team may be one of the biggest challenges your business will face in the early days. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips to help smoothen out the rest of the tricky bits.
Now, to kick everything off, let’s begin with the basic question: Where do I find the right people for my team?
The internet is a great way to connect with people, and using it to find the right person for the job is one of the simplest and easiest steps you can take. Post on employment websites or job groups, and be sure to be precise when detailing what you’re looking for. Being clear about your requirements right from the beginning helps you lessen time wasted between you and interested parties who may not be well-suited for the job.
Another route you can go with is to use your network. While the internet is a great place to reach out and find people who may be a good fit in your team, nothing beats a glowing personal recommendation from your peers. Odds are, this method will allow you to find someone with experience working in your industry or field, as your personal connections will more often than not know the specificities and intricacies of your industry. This can save you a lot of time that you would otherwise spend sifting through thousands of profiles online and interviewing potential candidates.
Our next tip is to determine what your potential hire’s goals are. Although the entire point of hiring is to further your startup’s objectives, it’s also important to check in on what your candidate’s ambitions are for themselves and their careers. CNBC’s Abigail Hess highlights a spike in the number of workers quitting their jobs in 2018, most of whom cite insufficient wages and opportunities for growth as their main reasons for leaving. By identifying your potential hire’s goals from the get-go, you can meet them halfway and save yourself time and trouble that it’ll take to train new hires if your first hire decides to leave. This way, you’ll be able to hire people with goals and expectations that your startup can realistically help them fulfil — thereby ensuring a healthy partnership from the very beginning.
This also means sometimes hiring people for their potential, rather than their current skills. Remember that skills can be learned through training and experience, especially for niche disciplines. Pick potential, work ethic, and an aligned vision above everything else, as these are what will help your startup flourish in the long run.
Lastly, keep in mind that the first few people you hire will be the ones that will establish your startup’s culture. Your first few hires will determine what your company culture will be like down the line. More than just about personal attitudes, this is important as your culture dictates your identity and values as a company, and how you embody your vision and mission.
Moreover, your identity and values will establish what kind of working environment your company will foster. This can play into a lot of things, such as meeting goals, employee retention, and overall company image. Keep this in mind when hiring early on, as resetting your company culture midway could prove to be difficult.
So you’ve found a candidate that’s a good fit and want to proceed with the hiring process. The next step is one that you shouldn’t overlook: onboarding. This involves the steps you take in integrating the new hire into your company.
An onboarding session should include an introduction to the company, its culture, and the expectations and responsibilities that come with the job. This is more important than some people think. In her article on successful onboarding, Special Counsel’s Jennifer Kohl details that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. This just goes to show that it would be in your company’s best interest to take onboarding seriously, as it could well determine whether your new hire is a success or not.
Now, the only thing left to do is to make sure your new hires are acclimated to the workplace. You can do this by scheduling periodic check-ins for the next 12 to 24 months. These check-ins will be used to review whether or not they are content with the path they’re going on and answer any lingering questions they may have. It will also serve as a performance review, for you to be able to give the new hires critical and constructive feedback that will help them perform better as they continue to adjust within your company.
These periodic check-ins can also help you evaluate your own hiring and onboarding processes. Ask for feedback from your new hire and observe if there are any difficulties they may be having that you could address in future recruitment efforts. This can help you streamline all the processes described above based on your specific needs and team concerns.
All in all, surrounding yourself with the right people who can build on your idea and work with you towards realizing your startup’s objectives can make or break your venture. No amount of fancy technology, advanced ideas, or capital can compare to the importance of a passionate, dedicated, and skilled group of people. And throughout all the steps in hiring for your startup, it pays to remember that your startup is only as good as the people you build it with.