How to hire your first set of employees in your Startup?

How to hire your first set of employees in your Startup
Pic Courtesy: Gratisography

Successful Entrepreneurs value people first. Any organisation at its core has people, always! The traditional businesses and the brick and mortar stores do not have the complexities of human talents as Tech Businesses do. Their business analogy is to multiply their quantum of work proportionately to the capacity needed for the production, and you can manage the demand and supply side of it. But what about Startups? Startup doesn’t work on this Brick and Mortar principle of hiring! Sometimes a billion dollar valuation of a Startup might have less than 50 employees. We have examples like Airbnb & Whatsapp which reached the massive valuations and installed base with extremely small workforce. Technology needs to be programmed to work and its modular structure keeps away the workforce.

For Startup, it’s all the more essential to have right people joining in, in the first place to keep the organisation’s health at its pink. People are the biggest assets of organisations. If treated and engaged well, they can create the Mojo needed for your Startup to flourish.

Why People First -Ideology is so important for Startups?

As a Startup you have bootstrapped budgets and limited cash flow to support the growing demands of the business. For a Internet based Startup, the major expense is Human Resource. If you have attrition you will just not loose on money in rehiring but the growth too.  With less money, bigger accountability and uninterrupted work flow you only have one key resource to help you and that’s your employee! The sooner we understand the better our Startup health be.

Hiring Principles for hiring your first set of Employees

Think from a perspective that you are a custodian and curator of an entity that’s going to be huge in days to come. You are constituting the members of this family. Now how would you like your members of family to be Or you would just need them to work for you and not be so elaborative in your thoughts? You cannot afford to hire a wrong person in a team of 4-5 people. It’s like 25-30% of your workforce is either non-performing or is restricting your growth. Below is the list of prerequisites to be taken care before and at the time of hiring.

1. Prepare a crisp and to the point Job Description.

A job description helps to understand the exact set of skill-sets and competencies you are looking for. Prepare a short and to the point job description with listed qualifications and standards. Try and also mention skills that you may need in near future along with the list of personality traits needed for the job. Tweet This

2. Seek candidates from references

People are really difficult to judge and like any other MNC’s and Technology behemoths you don’t have money to do the reference checks and form a robust Interview process to filter the right candidate. The better option is to voice out your requirements to people, relatives and friends around you and chances are that you may get the right person. We really don’t know the amount of sources we have till we explore it. So don’t think that you may not get the people from your friends and family till you voice it out. So go ahead and seek references from families and friends. The best way to start is scrolling your phone contacts.

3. At the time of hiring be extremely vocal about challenges of Startups to build the right expectations.

Never do the mistake of deferring this activity or ignoring it, at the time of hiring. We only feel disheartened if the results that we achieve are lower that the expectations we have set for ourselves. The employee should be clearly explained the dynamics of a Startup and should be given a clear picture of the company’s financial status. It has to be explained in a manner that it’s inspiring and not frightening. To narrate it, a statement of such sort could be used “We have limited budgets but then we are really positive to start making revenues or for that matter able to raise funds sooner to keep growing”.

People generally say or agree to what companies asks for, in the interviews. Try to manoeuvre with different set of people differently. Someone who is really agreeing to everything let him be aware of the challenges in open and makes sure that he is not manipulating but is truthful to all the facts he is agreeing to.

4. Share the vision and the Idea of the company very well

Your idea forms the purpose of your life. Could anything else except the stated fact would have held you so tightly? No right….so make sure you have the right candidate who also believes in your idea and can align himself to the vision of the company. He should be someone who thinks for consumers and societies and shall be compassionate towards the problems of the user. This might sound a bit off the track however its the basic premise of hiring  a mind-set that can be aligned to the vision of your company.Tweet This

5. Never promise equity to your employees at the time of hiring

Maximum Startups do this mistake of promising some equity share in the form of ESOPs (Employee Stock Options). How would be you able to judge a candidate in an interview of 30 minutes to an hour? You cannot! and you would have to seek considerable and significant amount of time to offer ownership of any sort. Try and seek their faith during the process of evolution in Startups. Read this to know the beliefs of an Entrepreneur You can always explain this to the person as an opportunity but do not do the mistake of putting it across as a part of remuneration. The ESOPs are safe as there is a clause of time but they are NOT meant for motivating the candidate to join the organisation rather it’s for employees to feel worthy and attain a sense of ownership to work more intuitively towards the vision of the company.

6. Explain the candidate about the enormous learning opportunities in a Startup!

If you don’t have a competitive edge why would the employee work for you? The answer is Learning Opportunity. With blinkers on eyes and with contained set of protocols, the bigger organisations make the people be like robots, who are working only on the given set of instructions and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure). There is no space to hit, try and experiment. Explain this to your candidates in an extremely inspiring manner. Help them understand that working for Startups is more about you and less about the brand you are working for. It’s your personal MBA that would help you evolve!


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