Hiring for a startup is recruiting at its finest. Not only do you need one person with a plethora of skills but you are likely recruiting for yourself (or for the first time….unless it’s a recruiting startup) and you’re dealing with a limited budget and timeline! Some people and many entrepreneurs thrive in this kind of environment. Here’s how to recruit, onboard and manage your startup hire.

Carefully word your job advertisement

You (probably) don’t have the budget of the well-funded startups around you, nor do you have the brand recognition of those who have been recruiting in your area or industry for years. What you do have though (or should) is originality. You have a product or service that you wholeheartedly believe in, and a will to make your company succeed. Use this passion and drive to find your perfect startup hire. Make sure your job advertisement includes:

  • A description of your office environment. Work from home optional? Mention that as 79% of the jobseeking public prefers the option!
  • The role you need them to fill. Startups are notorious for vague speak. Don’t do this. Instead, specifically spell out some of the deliverables. Pro tip: Don’t give your new hire all the admin work you don’t want to do. Offer startup jobseekers a mix of rewarding work and startup drudgery to attract those who are both motivated and passionate.
  • A specific way to respond. You may have an applicant tracking system, but let the candidates who can follow direction bubble to the top with a little extra direction. Ask candidates to send you a tweet or like your Facebook page to leave a message. A more traditional approach is to send a response to a certain email address with a specific word in the subject line. Either way, this is initial screening for little to no time.

Set up their space

Whether you’re working out of a basement or across the country from your new startup hire, you need to make sure they can “hit the ground running”. Chances are, you will overwhelm your new startup with needs that have piled to the ceiling. The best thing you can do for your new hire is to create a plan and a space (digitally or otherwise) where they can get their work completed, quickly.

  • Don’t skimp on technology. You’ll pay for it in the time it takes them to reboot, find free versions of software or patch data together. Instead, ensure they have professional versions of Evernote, Dropbox, Toggl or anything else they need to do their jobs.
  • Set communication parameters. Whether it’s startup darling communication tool Slack or an in-office headphones rule, make sure everyone knows when and how to communicate so nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Set goals. There are lots of great onboarding ideas for big companies, but what about small companies or startups? It can be really easy to just throw a load of work at your startup hire, but instead, take the time to show them the ropes and set goals you and your new hire agree on. (Ex. Within one day, I will be able to navigate my intranet and the editorial process. Within 2 weeks, I will have emailed 30 influencers in the Technology space.)

“Focus on one thing that you’re going to get done every day. Sometimes the thing you pick is really big, so that can make it really hard, but stay on it.  Decline meetings that don’t help you focus on what you’re trying to get done that day.” – Hillary McGuiness, Director of Marketing for Intel’s New Business Group focused on wearables.

Guard their time (and yours)

Priorities at a startup change every day. It’s not a great place for someone used to managing long-term projects with layers of approval around every corner. Hopefully, you didn’t hire someone like that. If you did, managing them will be about allowing them to reprioritize their time. Less meetings, more doing. Fewer lunches, more continuous feedback loops. While talking about getting something done feels productive, it isn’t. In fact, 17% of employees would rather watch paint dry than attend a meeting.

  • When setting goals, put it on a list. If it’s too vague to put on a list, you don’t need it.
  • Create time limits on all tasks. Make it clear that even if they don’t meet them, it’s good to know how long tasks should take.
  • Revisit your initial goals every meeting so you can provide feedback, adjust goals and shift priorities when needed.
  • Micromanage. But don’t micromanage the process, only the result. Allow your startup hire to find their own way to the result you clearly communicate.

Click Boarding is an employee onboarding software that helps startups and small businesses streamline their onboarding process. Track candidates’ progress from the time they apply to their first day to enable your new employees to hit the ground running. Contact us today for a personalized demo of Click Boarding.

Growth & Retention