Hiring for a start-up

Updated: Apr 29

Recruiting great candidates for start-ups can sometimes pose one or two challenges. Competition for good talent is high and you will often be competing against very well established organisations who sometimes pay higher salaries.

When you start out looking to hire your first one or two employees, hire with the future in mind and hire for potential. A successful start-up will quickly outgrow existing skills and roles. Assessing these skills at interview is the easy part, finding potential is not so. It isn't' something that you will find in the words of a CV, so where do you look? Seek individuals who can demonstrate not just academic and work achievements, but also lifetime goals and achievements. Don't be afraid to ask these questions at interview.

We also talk a lot about the culture of a company, but starting out we often find that the culture is yet to be determined. Take time to consider the values of your business and then set out to hire individuals who display the right behaviours and mentality to match those values to ensure coherence moving forward. Don't be afraid to use behavioural style interviews and also psychometric profiling.

In an ideal world, find individuals with prior start-up experience. You need employees who can work in a fast-paced agile environment. It is often a "all hands to the deck" scenario and employees need to be able to work in a role where priorities can change.

Even if you meet or talk to a candidate who isn't right for your business just now, leave them with the best candidate experience possible. Feedback should be detailed and delivered through either your recruiter or direct, in a timely manner. This is your first taste of employer branding and you want individuals to come away wanting to work for you again in the future. Now you are starting to talent pipeline.

Think about what you can offer that isn't just about a salary. Our experience of working with startups is that they can be more creative:

  • An equity scheme

  • Flexible or remote working

  • Unlimited holiday allowance

  • A defined career path

Talk to an expert. Recruitment can be hard, time-consuming and expensive. If you hire the wrong individual it can set your growth plans back considerably. As a founder, you don't want to be spending 50% of your time on recruitment with mixed results.

At Propeller-Tech we know what it takes to work in a start-up. It is more than just the ability to carry out the tasks of the job. You need to see the opportunity as more than just your next job and be able to commit for the long haul. By spending time discovering what motivates and drives individuals in their career AND through our proactive searching techniques we target the right individuals who are open to talking and learning more about what you have to offer.

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