13 Full-Cycle Hiring Tips and Lessons For Start-Up Founders and CEOs

13 Full-Cycle Hiring Tips and Lessons For Start-Up Founders and CEOs

Hiring the right people is crucial for the success of any company, and this is especially true for emerging startups. 

As a founder or CEO of a startup, it can be challenging to find the right talent for your company, but with the right approach, you can attract and hire top-performing employees who will help you achieve your goals. 

In this article, we’ll provide you with 14 simple full-cycle hiring tips and lessons for founders and CEOs. 

These tips cover everything from networking to onboarding and will help you create a streamlined process for finding and hiring the best talent for your startup. 

Whether you’re hiring your first employee or building a team, these tips will help you make the right decisions and avoid common hiring mistakes. 

Talent Search

1. Reach out to your network’s network

When hiring your first people, your network must be your first source of talent. 

If you don’t have a large network, then the first step for you is to build it. Focus on creating value for people and building meaningful relationships. That’s the only way you’ll get something back in return.

Chances are your first network won’t come to work with you. However, what’s likely is that they know someone else who’d be interested.

To increase your chances of successfully converting a candidate referral, meet up with your network, rather than sending them a text message. 

2. If you’ve never recruited for a role before…

First, create a candidate profile and a job description. Then, ask someone you know who’s in the same role to have a look at it. 

Are the skills and requirements even relevant? Are you expecting too much or too little? 

Validate your candidate profile before going public with the job opening.

3. Assess the candidate’s fit based on your company phase

If you’re trying to hire someone to build something up from scratch, you most likely need someone who has been there and done it. 

For example, if you need your new CTO to help scale the team from 10 to 50 people, then they should have experience building teams. 

It would be a mismatch to hire someone for that role who’s currently working at a large company with zero team-building experience. 


Interviewing Candidates

4. Have a task ready

Take-home tasks are a practical way to assess a candidate’s skills and mindset. The nature of the tasks can vary, but they should mimic real-life work situations to be the most effective.

5. Gut feelings are great, biases are not. 

When conducting interviews, ask all the candidates the same interview questions. Otherwise, you won’t have a point of comparison, which results in a bias toward certain applicants.

6. Learn to sell your company as an employer

Many founders struggle with this part. To attract the best talent, learn how to sell and inspire people to work at your company. The first conversations should be inspirational and achieve engagement. Focus on your company mission, vision, long-term plans, and what type of work culture you aspire to create for your people.  


Selecting Candidates

7. People won’t come to work with you forever

No matter the position, a CTO, or a junior specialist, be conscious that people will only come to work with you for a certain amount of time.

8. Hiring superstars vs good performers

Always aim to hire the BEST people willing to go above and beyond. If something is missing about a candidate, then don’t start selling them to yourself. Instead, keep looking and be more flexible in your approach. If hiring remote talent is what it takes to widen your pool, consider doing this.

9. Benchmark your salaries

It can be challenging to put together a compelling offer without knowing what’s the current market situation salary-wise. In this case, ask your network or recruitment agencies for information about salaries. You can also consider paying for salary research.

Hiring Candidates

10. Calls are better than emails

Your first people will come to work with you because of YOU. So, make the offer stage as personalized as possible by calling your desired candidate rather than sending an email.

11. Offer salary flexibility

Some candidates prefer more stock options. Some prefer a higher monthly salary. Make sure you have a compelling offer ready in both of these cases. 

Onboarding Candidates

12. Create momentum

A great onboarding experience will set the foundation for a successful work relationship. Have clear expectations for the new hire. A great way to set expectations is to follow the 30-60-90-day framework. It may take time to generate an onboarding plan, but it will pay off in the future. 

13. Have monthly check-ins

Set a monthly check-in with the new hire. Sit down to reflect on the progress, and set a plan to move forward. 

From networking and creating a candidate profile to onboarding and monthly check-ins, every step of the hiring process is important, and it’s crucial to get it right. By following these simple tips and lessons, you can avoid common hiring mistakes and build a winning team that will help your startup achieve its goals. 

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