5 Things Every Startup Should Know About Hiring

June 1, 2015

2:00 pm

As any entrepreneur or businessperson will tell you, hiring is vitally important for business success. Here’s a few points to help you do it correctly:

Sell the Vision

This is first for a reason. Selling the vision is critical at every stage of your business. When I first founded SELECT, I had to convince people to work well below market rates. The only way to get quality talent below market rates is to sell the vision – and sell it well. Your team needs to feel like they’re creating something that will change the world. As the business grows, and your vision is backed up by traction, it gets easier and easier.

Never Settle

Be realistic about who you will be able to hire while never feeling like you’ve had to settle. This is not an easy task, but it is not impossible either. Post positions, take in a ton of applications, conduct interviews, and be picky. Most people who make it to an interview will be talented, but ensure that their talents align with your business objectives and the role for which they are interviewing. Previous experience is always preferred, but intelligence, passion, and a skill set that matches the position is far more important.

Another thing to remember as you expand your team is that you are creating a culture. Each and every hire should fit into the culture you want to build upon. Culture is very difficult to implement retroactively and it has a profound impact on business.

Hire slow and fire quickly

If a new hire doesn’t meet expectations (this will happen) do not procrastinate the inevitable. Keeping poor hires around doesn’t benefit a single stakeholder in your business. This can lower team morale at best and can be a huge distraction at worst.

Additionally, as the business naturally grows and evolves some team members may not be able to evolve with it– this is normal. Don’t feel bad about replacing old hires with those better suited for the business. You do them, and your entire team a disservice by keeping them with the company.

Do NOT Outsource Tech

If you’re a technology or technology-enabled company, do not outsource your development. You will need to be able to iterate, grow, and adapt extremely quickly to keep up with the market. This requires an in-house team.

The one exception may be for building a minimum viable product. If you can afford a skilled development company to build your MVP product and are confident you can get traction quickly, then you may be able to begin without one. However, as soon as you’re generating revenue or raise outside investment, bring it in-house.

Everyone should be on a vesting schedule

Experienced entrepreneurs already know this, but I cannot stress its importance. Every employee needs to be on a vesting schedule – no exceptions. This includes all cofounders and c-levels. No one is exempt. Make sure the terms of the schedule, RSA (restricted stock agreements) and options agreements are all written by experienced attorneys. In general, make sure all legal agreements including employee agreements, contractor agreements, RSAs, and anything else are airtight. It’s worth the extra money for a top-notch attorney.

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Carlo is a serial entrepreneur, speaker and writer. He is the Founder & CEO of SELECT. He is also a member of the YEC, an elite organization for successful entrepreneurs.

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