Startup CEOs pitch their companies in elevators, on stage, in moving cars, and now, on many TV shows. There is one pitch, though, that only happens behind closed doors, yet determines more about the future of the company than anything on the public stage: your recruiting pitch.

Let Your Nerd Flag Fly

Our startup trades in nerd speak. We are a data science company, working in natural language processing and machine learning to transform the real-time Web. That is a mouthful, and if we pitch that to non-technical investors, eyes glaze over, or worse, wander down to their phones.

But when recruiting for our team, we can embrace the nerd speak. The problems we're solving are complex, and solutions in our domain require a mix of creativity and knowledge that is a rarity. We love this about our work, and conveying this excitement is well-suited to nerdiness.  When you're looking to recruit, revisit the problem that spurred you to start your company. It's crucial to embrace that inner nerd and convey that passion that prompted you to create your company, because you want to find equally passionate people to join you.

Fire From the Mountain

Take your company's origin story and boil it down to its absolute essence, all the way to the spark that inspired you and your co-founders. This will transform your story into the pitch that truly inspires your first hire. Passion and precision are key; this will help you identify future teammates who understand and believe in your vision. Beyond recruiting, the degree to which you're able to instill passion in your team will be crucial to your success. Conveying that spark will enable you to sustain the inspiration as you grow your company from the garage to a small empire.

Focus

The consistent thread running through all of this is focus. Precise messaging on both the product and company levels enables focus and ensures that the fire of inspiration burns throughout the team.

From Product to Company

In the beginning, when it's just you and your co-founder, you may think you're just building your product--testing and getting traction and feedback. However, as you accomplish your goals, you're also growing the company, and how you lead at this stage will inform how you go about creating policies and strategies and conducting investor relations.

All Game, No Flash

This crucial recruiting pitch is an unsung hero because it's not as flashy, and the returns are not immediate. In the long run, this is the pitch that will build the most valuable aspects of your company. It will propel your team forward, motivate them, keep them focused, and empower them to craft your company together.

Published on: Jul 28, 2014