The kind of staff a startup chooses to support its organization will be critical to success in the early game. Startups have limited cash, which means hiring decisions are often made by executives instead of human resources. The job ad and interview process are crucial to the hiring process. Before you begin the hunt for the perfect candidate, consider the means of the business and the role of the person.
Hire vs. Contract
The core functions of your business are duties you want carried out in-house. These are people you need face time with, like developers and systems administrators. This is why companies hire for UI/UX positions and outsource the actual coding of the system to others. There are skilled coding positions that are done in-house, but these are usually management-level positions. Contract out low-level tasks that require little skill. Empower project managers to hire their own work force remotely and hold meetings to check the progress of those tasks and make suggestions on removing roadblocks along the way.
When you’re relocating, or even if you’re settled, the upkeep of your facility takes time and energy. Small duties like taking out the trash or making coffee can be shared among the office, but ordering supplies is a bit more involved. There are intern positions that can help with this, but you should consider a person to manage resources as your company scales. You can designate an office manager and hand those responsibilities to that person.
Allowing employees to bring their own devices to work lowers the cost of your hardware, but it can cause a need for IT staff. You can contract positions out while you grow familiar with candidates by posting engineering staffing job openings with recruitment firms. This saves you the time of sorting through applications and leads to more qualified candidates. These firms often prep you ahead of time, with information about the candidate. Once you’ve hired a candidate, you can work out a more permanent contract with the employee and handle most IT concerns in-house.
Remember to hire for your most critical positions first. It’s easier to explain to investors that you didn’t meet a goal because you were understaffed than overstaffed. Make a list of the duties you can’t do yourself and start small. For individuals, use contractors to augment the work you’re already doing. Once you have a viable product, scale with a partner and your first few hires. This gives you time to refine your pitch and practice the important beats. Once you have a working product supported by a small staff, you’re ready to get more funding and do some hiring.
Hire for Cost
Everyone wants the best, but talent is expensive. Remember that you need to work within your means as you launch, replacing your group with better people as your business scales. Be sure that you reward your ground floor employees with positions that fit their performance, but hire people you can afford until you can show that your product will grow and make money.
Network for Hires
The best hires are people you meet through others. These are contacts that may know your fellow professionals and can offer some recommendations for people you should work with. If you don’t have the money to pay a staffing firm to qualify hires for you, and most startups don’t, you need a more efficient way to meet people. Job fairs also get you some face time with employees, and provide an outlet for branding.
The most valuable asset you have is your time. As important as hiring can be, you can only sacrifice so much time toward finding the right candidate. Delegate as much of these duties as possible to your administrative staff, and leave the review process to you or someone equally technical.