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7 Tips to Successfully Hire the First 10 Employees for Your Startup

Choosing the first 10 employees for your startup is crucial, as they determine the next 100. Here's how to do it successfully.

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Hiring is hard, but hiring for startups can be even harder.

As a young company with limited cash flow, hiring the wrong employee can potentially break your startup.

Therefore, you have to be very careful with your decisions and do your best to hire great people.

Here’re 7 crucial tips to successfully hire your first 10 employees:

1. Set Recruitment Goals and Implement Strategies

The first thing you need to do when creating a recruitment strategy is to determine your goals along with metrics to track your efforts and measure your success. There are several recruitment metrics you should identify and measure so your team can improve at every stage of the recruitment life cycle but it’s especially important to understand the true cost-per-hire of new employees.
There are a number of factors that contribute to hiring costs, and as a startup, you can’t waste time, money or resources. By figuring out how much a new hire should cost on average and how much your team is spending on different aspects of the recruitment process, you’ll be better able to tailor your recruitment strategy.
Another unique factor startups have to take into account when planning their recruitment strategy is how funding affects its ability to hire and grow as a company. It’s important to know that recruiting tactics will change before, during and after a round of funding, so anticipate your hiring needs and develop loose strategies for whether or not you are currently raising funding.

2. Create Your Unique Story and a Compelling Employer Brand

In order to get candidates in the door, they need to think of your company as an employer of choice. Startups are smaller in size and not as well-known as big-name brands, so it’s harder to get on candidates’ radar. For that reason, it is critical that startups create a stellar employer brand to gain the trust of job seekers and encourage them to apply.
Start by drafting your mission statement, which should summarize your purpose, goals and core values. Your mission statement and core values will help you define your employer brand and the reputation you want to have with employees, job seekers and key stakeholders.
Your employees most accurately reflect your actual employer brand, so it’s smart to start building your internal employer branding team. To better understand where your team stands, ask employees to complete an employer branding survey.
From there, you can build out your external employer branding strategy with a strong social media plan and promote employee spotlights. Your employer brand will help candidates get excited about working for your company because they’ll have a better understanding of what it’s like to work there.

3. Interview Your Candidate Like a Startup

The interview process at startups is also different from that at large companies, and for good reason. It’s unlikely that you need to hire a specialist in any field at this point, so you’re looking for candidates who can take on plenty of roles at once. This alone separates your needs from those of an established firm, and it should separate your interview process from theirs as well.
For instance, it’s sensible to involve as many employees as possible in the interview process for the job interview. Every employee at a startup will work closely with each of his or her colleagues, so a social fit is as important as the right background and skill set. Everyone who already works for you needs to be sure they can collaborate with every new hire, especially at this early stage of your business. Luckily, most startups are small enough that you can introduce candidates to everyone directly. Doing this may be as easy as inviting finalist candidates out to lunch with the company after their interviews, or inviting different employees to sit in on segments of the interview process.

4. Hire People who Align with Your Vision

If you’re not able to offer large salaries to top talent, you need to get creative. First, you need to build a company with a clear mission and vision that excites and inspires. As a founder, you must be able to share your long-term vision with your potential employees and present your company in the best way. Then, you need to focus on bringing in the people who will champion this mission and bring it to life beyond a quote on the wall in your lobby.

5. Focus on Behavior over Experience

While it’s vitally important that the employees you hire for your startup have the right skills on-paper, it’s equally important that their attitude and behavior is in-line with the mission of your company as well.
Working at a new startup is not a job for the faint of heart or those who get frustrated easily. Every position within your new company is likely going to come with a set of challenges and obstacles that must be overcome, and you need to hire people who will respond to these challenges in a positive way.
A few samples of behavioral questions you could ask the candidates you interview include:

– What is your greatest accomplishment in your career?
– What goals did you set for yourself at your last place of employment?
– What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you respond to it?
– What made you the most angry at your last place of employment?
– How do you prioritize your day-to-day work?

Asking questions such as these will help you get a feel for how a candidate is going to behave in the workplace and respond to the challenges that come along with making a new startup successful. In the end, these factors are often even more important than the skills an employee brings to the table.

6. Consider Hiring Remote Employees

If you are having difficulty finding great candidates in your local area, remote employees are a necessity.
Hiring remote means you have an entire world full of talented employees from which to choose. Remote working options are a no-cost perk.
And if remote employees are not a viable choice for your startup, perhaps you can offer flexible working arrangements, such as working from the office three days a week and two days at home to entice talent to choose your company.

7. Always Be Hiring

A startup can never predict when its growth is going to explode. If a company waits until the last minute to find talent, it will have a workforce that isn’t up to speed. So, you can’t sit back and rely on applicants to come to you, otherwise you’ll never hit your targets.
Instead you should have always to post for new positions like sales and customer service. This allows your organization to stay ahead when it comes to unexpected growth.

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