One of the most important factors in growing your startup is hiring and building a great team around it. But how can you make sure that you've found the right people to help your business succeed?

Searching for the right employees is a difficult task that shouldn't be taken lightly. You have to make sure that you find someone who clicks with the culture, not to mention talented and willing to embark on this risky journey known as startup life. Over the past four months I've been searching for the best team in the world for a project that I've been working on. It's not easy, especially when you're not able to pay them much and you're living in Silicon Valley.

Below are some suggestions that I've found very useful to find top talent in today's market.

Have a Candidate in Mind

Before going through applications and the interview process, you should have a clear idea of the type of person you want to hire. Asking yourself a question like "What positions need to be filled and by when?" is a great starting-off point. You should have a question like "Why would this person want this job?" prepared as well. Is it because of the atmosphere? Salary? Location? Knowing why a candidate would accept your job offer determines how passionate and dedicated he or she is to the culture of your brand.

I highly recommend that you write these needs down on a piece of paper to really cement in your brain exactly the person that you want to have working for your company.

Create a Compelling Recruitment Plan

Think of hiring a candidate like selling your product or service to an investor. You need to sell them on joining your team by presenting its strengths, such as the product, business strategy, or resources already in place. But you also want the candidate to know that you don't have everything figured out and that's where you need them.

That's why you need to clarify expectations right off the bat by creating an effective recruitment plan. This plan should include the following:

Look For Talent Everywhere

Your budget will influence this, but you need to look for talent everywhere. Of course, one of the easiest places to start is by placing your job opening on job posting sites like Indeed or Monster. If you want to narrow down your search to your niche, post openings on job boards or social media platforms.

If you have the money to spend, you could also rely on agencies or professional recruiters to find potential team members. And don't rule out the power of internships.

Treat All Candidates With Respect

Just because a candidate doesn't have the exact qualifications you're looking for, you shouldn't rule them out. Make sure that you give every applicant the same consideration. Remember, they may seem like mere applicants to you, but they have connections as well. What if you treated an applicant unfairly and their best friend is that excellent software developer you've been looking for? What do think that applicant will tell their friend when he/she announces they have an interview with you? It won't end well.

Cut Back on the Interviews

You're busy enough as it is. Do you really want to waste your time interviewing people all day, every day? Remember, you don't have to interview every applicant. Instead, focus on the applicants who feel strongly about. You could do this by having a brief interaction with them prior to an interview, like a short e-mail or phone call.

If the candidate does make it to the interview, then consider having a strong interviewer join in (if that's an area that you're not that strong in). I personally like to have my team do the interviewing and hiring. I have someone on staff interview everyone and weed out the candidates who wouldn't work for the job. I then interview and figure out which two or three I like the best. Then I let the team group interview and pick the winner. I've found this is the best option because they only have themselves to blame if it doesn't work out with that person. 

Look For Traits

Sometimes it's difficult to know the potential of talented candidates, which is why you have to keep an eye out for the following traits, courtesy of ReWork:

If you've created thoughtful interview questions, you should be able to identify the above traits. Monster, for example, has put together a very useful guide for the Interview Process and Beyond.

Move Quickly

There's a ton of competition out there and you don't want to miss out on a talented person because you were waiting until you conducted some more interviews. If you know that the right individual is sitting across from you, then don't hesitate to offer them a job.

Published on: Sep 9, 2014
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