When it comes to running a startup, one of the biggest challenges founders encounter, is securing a new hire and ensuring they fit into the organization. Your first hire is very important, as the wrong candidate may drain what limited resources you have available. Our friends at Spacelist recently brought on some killer talent so we decided to share some of our tips for others looking to do the same.
Know what you’re looking for
Before you start hunting for candidates, make sure that you know exactly what kind of person you’d like to work with and how they would help build your company. When describing the job position, consider the available options with equity and pay or the possibility of them becoming a “quasi-cofounder”.
When developing a job description, have people working in that position look it over, they may be able to provide some insights to make your listing more attractive. Make sure that you send the job posting to as many interested people in your network as you can. Finally, go where potential candidates hang out, see what they’re interested in and how they interact with one another.
Identify the best candidates
The most educated/experienced candidates may not always be the best ones for your organization. Sometimes it’s the people who are most willing to learn and adapt that may be easier to fit within the company. Invest your time in getting to know them through several interviews. It may take several interviews before you have a good understanding of their personalities. If you find yourself stuck looking for candidates, just remember the 80/20 rule, only 20% of the incoming resumes will be worth your while. For more reading on general hiring practices, see this article from Fred Wilson.
Understand how they communicate with others
Before you get your potential hire onboard, make sure you have a firm understanding of their methods of communication. If you work with outsourced developers, get them to engage with the candidate. If you haven’t been able to get several interviews with the candidate, make sure you are able to meet up with them for some extended conversation.
Be clear on what you’re looking for from them and how you’re planning on integrating them into your organization, their feedback will help you understand where they stand. Ensure your working environment encourages open communication and feedback from your new employee.
With some time and patience, you can find your ideal candidate. Make sure you know what you’re looking for and how you’d like to them to be integrated into your organization. While it may be a lot of work to find the right candidate, the payoff may be greater than you’d originally expected. Check out Spacelist’s post introducing their new hire.