In the first installment of this series, we spoke with Andrew Crawford of the Founder Institute , a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur training program and startup incubator with chapters across 75 cities and 30 countries. Hiring comprises a significant portion of Andrew’s responsibilities as the Founder Institute’s finance manager. He shared with us advice for founders as they’re beginning to make their first hires.
How does a founder determine the first hires they should make?
This is a tough question and it really depends on the type of business and stage that you are in. I’m a firm believer that the first hires by any founder should be a co-founder(s). You should look for people whose skill set will complement your own. For example, a technical founder should look to hire a business or marketing skill set, and vice versa.
What are a few characteristics a founder should look for in initial hires?
You need to hire passionate people who truly believe in your mission, values, and vision. The initial hires need to be vested in your company and okay with ambiguity. Any early stage company is more than certain to hit a few bumps in the road, forcing a deviation in plans. Your initial hires need to be able to thrive working in that type of environment.
When a team is small, hiring even a few people may mean dramatically increasing a team’s size. What advice do you have for companies as they begin to scale?
Focus on retaining the company culture. When a small team dramatically increases in size, the first thing to generally go is the company’s culture. Ensuring the company’s culture is retained is vital to keeping morale high and thus employee satisfaction/retention.
How do you recruit with limited resources?
Network, network, network. Go to as many local startup and ecosystem events as possible; leverage both your professional and social networks and have them do your recruiting for you. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can reach a vast amount of qualified candidates.
How can founders best use their local startup ecosystem as they’re recruiting?
If you think of this in reverse, the best way for an employee to search for and find a new role is through a referral from their professional/social network. Conversely, as a founder/HR professional, the best employees generally arrive via referral.
What are some of the most important metrics for founders to track as they’re hiring?
- Retention rate : Hiring a new employee is costly but so is the lost productivity around a resignation and training their replacement. Understanding why one role or department has different retention rates than another will help you manage for this in the future.
- Sourcing channels : How many qualified applicants come from each source? Are certain channels more productive than others? Knowing this information can save you from wasting hours on unproductive channels and allow you to focus your energy on areas you’re most likely to see a positive outcome in.
- Hiring time : How long does it take you to hire a role? Do certain roles take longer than others? You’ll need to understand these metrics if you’re to scale your company and plan properly to grow your business.
Recruiterbox is partnering with the Founder Institute for the upcoming webinar How to Find the Perfect Startup Co-Founder . Founders will learn how to determine needs, what to look for in candidates, where to find the best talent and more. The one-hour webinar will take place Thursday, June 18 at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET. Register here .
About the author
Erin Engstrom is the web content strategist at Recruiterbox. I’m in Chicago for now, but hope to take advantage of Recruiterbox’s remote workplace and do the digital nomad thing. Relax and eat the elephant one bite at a time.