How not to hire your startup team.

I’ve built teams of my own and seen many teams created for startups. Some successful and some not. I’ll start off by saying there’s no right or wrong way to hire into any business, startup or not. But for startups, there are certainly a few key things to watch out for.

Employees entrance door

Photo by Olivier Collet

Startup hiring is different.

Funny thing is when you think about it…There isn’t a startup business out there that starts up wishing to hire badly. But more often than not, it happens.

Budget constraints combined with an illusion of what you think you need, make hiring a dangerous business in the early stages.

The key thing to remember here, the team you hire first, isn’t necessarily the team you’ll need later.

To start, hire exactly what you need when you need it and nothing more.

I’ve seen startups hiring ahead of time and hiring the wrong people. This is often because they’re hiring for future opportunities or for growth before they’ve got there.

As an example, you hire an employee because you feel they have potential. You are so sure of their future ability you believe you can grow them into the person you will need as the business grows.

But you’ve potentially made two mistakes already.

Mistake 1: You’re able to use 25% of the employee’s current knowledge and experience now. That’s cool, but the remaining 75% requires unlocking, a process that will take funding, time, and knowledge. And startup businesses are well known for rolling in these three!

Mistake 2: You think you know exactly what you need now before you’ve even started. Your staffing requirements are EXTREMELY LIKELY to change, even if you think they won’t. You are in danger of making the business fit the new employees you have promised growth and opportunity. Instead, you could be employing the people you need to grow the business now.

Big caveat here…

As I mentioned above you may find a way of making it work, and have a wonderfully grounded and capable team after a few years, who have been there from the very beginning.

I’ve seen it happen and had first-hand experience. But more often than not, I’ve seen the opposite.

Some key things to takeaway:

So short and sweet here’s what I would say to any new startup who’s hiring.

1. The team you hire first isn’t necessarily the team you’ll need later.
2. Hire what you need, when you need it.
3. Hire the skills you need to hit the ground running.
4. Ensure everyone you hire, junior or senior can provide value from week

Do what you think is right, be bold, ambitious, and confident with your choices but consider your options wisely for the sake of you, your team, and the immediate future of your start-up.

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