Hiring the right talent in a start-up is imperative for growth. Whether it is a Series B start-up looking to scale up operations or a business further down the line considering an IPO, the importance in investing in people remains the same.
So how does a business looking for growth, ensure the right skill sets are brought into the business from the beginning and is there anything else to consider when recruiting into a start-up?
Outsource to experts
Outsourcing to experts is crucial for many aspects when building a business in the early stages, and it should be true for hiring the right people. Seeking guidance from an experienced recruiter at a reputable agency can glean important information about skills, salaries, market demand and more. The cost of mis hiring can be significant, at the time of writing this article employers must also navigate the huge increase in applicants due to COVID-19 related job losses where the increase in applications does not equal an increase in quality. Finding the right people in the current market can be akin to finding a needle in a haystack, partnering with an agency will save a business time and money finding the right talent. A good recruitment consultant should also be able to advise on the interview process, keeping it consistent to ensure candidates are measured equally.
Hire flexible people
Start-ups are fluid, they change quickly, businesses need to recruit people comfortable wearing many hats. With the flexible nature of a role in a start-up versus more established organisations where the structure and culture are already defined and established, it is important to challenge people on their suitability to this type of environment. Many start-ups try and save money by hiring junior people to do a role that encompasses multiple job functions, but this is a risky strategy. At this early stage it is safer and more cost effective in the long run to recruit more experienced candidates who can get on with tasks at hand without needing lots of hand holding. It is worth exploring both permanent candidates as well as those looking for contract work, this affords the business more flexibility when different expertise is needed.
Passion and future potential
Aside from hiring experience in a start-up, it is important to consider other factors in candidates such as passion, understanding of the brand and the future journey. Candidates demonstrating passion, the right attitude and future potential (if the training and guidance is available) should also be considered along with skills already gained. In the right environment potential over experience can add just as much value.
Diversity, now not later
Diversity should not be something to contemplate later on, start-ups serious about growing into a market leading brand should consider diversity from the very first hire. There are many statistics that demonstrate a diverse workforce reaps rewards, one such statistic by McKinsey highlights the many positive facets. Seeking the skills of an experienced HR or recruitment professional to build this into a recruitment plan is extremely important.
“More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing return,” McKinsey
This should be standard practice for any business whether a start-up or not; a credible recruitment agency should offer to gather two written references at offer stage. Really good recruiters will be proactive and source references even earlier where possible with the candidates’ permission. It is important to note that it is ultimately the employer’s responsibility to verify those references and check eligibility to work in the country.
This article has been written by Katie Jackson, Director of Kindred Recruitment, a London based sales and marketing recruitment agency serving the whole of the UK. If you are a start-up looking to hire talent across sales, marketing, product, data/analytics, project management and customer service, please get in touch.