11 Hiring Tips For Startups & SMEs Hiring First 20 Employees

11 Hiring Tips For Startups & SMEs Hiring First 20 Employees

You, probably, along with your co-founders have put in the hard work to bring your idea to life. Spend nights after nights staying up finding ways to give your idea the legs it needs to run. Achieved proof concept and the demand for your product or service is overwhelming. Even if not, once you’ve worked on your idea from ground zero, you’re bound to reach a point where you and your co-founders just won’t suffice. You’ll need extra pairs of hands to help your idea reach the next milestone. In essence, it’s time to start the dreadful process of hiring.

As cumbersome and tiring the process of hiring is, it is just as important. After all, your team members are going to be your prominent differentiating factor for years to come. Moreover, for a startup or small business making their first 10 or 20 hires, it’s even more crucial to find the correct people to join your team.

These first hires form the backbone of your organization. From driving the internal culture to driving the organization towards success, your first 20 employees ought to be those whom you can bank on when the chips are down and your back against the wall. Those whom you’d fight with, disagree with but at the end of the day, they’ll have your back.

So, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you secure the perfect talent for your company.

  1. Why are you hiring?

    Apart from the obvious answer, you need helping hands. You must be sure why you need to hire right now for your business. While you ask yourself this question, make sure your answer to the question revolves around specific tasks that you need help with. For example, “I need someone to help establish a powerful social presence.” Or, “I need someone to help me put in place the necessary partnership required.”

    In doing so, you shift your focus for hiring for particular function or designation instead focus on potential candidates on their competency to help you achieve your why.
  2. Finalize your budget

    Now, that you know the why of your hiring activity, it’s imperative to know how much can you afford to pay the people you hire. An employee and employer relation is a transaction-based relationship. In which, the employer pays a sum of amount to the employee for the services provided.

    It’s advisable to keep market standards as your budget when hiring for any role. But, if you’ve bootstrapped and still haven’t raised funds, there might be a chance of a more stringent hiring budget. This reduces your potential pool of candidates with the required expertise and experience, but don’t worry not all hope is lost. There are many talented candidates with immense potential looking for one opportunity to prove their worth whom you can target.
  3. Potential matters just as much as a resume

    When hiring it’s easy to be hooked on to resumes of candidates from Ivy league colleges and immense experience but they’re not the only ones who exist. While there might be no doubt in their abilities, they are bound to test your hiring budget.

    When selecting your first few hires, a resume should just be a document to confirm the candidate’s titles and accomplishments. Instead, focus on candidates with the potential to make a significant impact with the right guidance. These candidates are self-driven, motivated and bound to go the extra mile to help you achieve your milestones.
  4. Sell your vision

    When you start out with your hiring activity, there will be countless candidates you’ll come across who are in search of nothing but a 9 – 5 job with a regular paycheck. They’ll be at work on time, do every task assigned to them, but rarely will you see them going beyond their outlined responsibilities. The kind of people you need to steer away from.

    When you meet or interview a potential hire, your vision should be enough to pique their interest and make them believe in a tomorrow only you see. Therefore, it’s critical for you to know why you do, what you do, and why anyone should join you to help you do what you do.
  5. Assess and evaluate skills

    So, you met a potential hire, even liked them and all but certain to welcome them to the team. But, just hold on a second before you do that. The thing about interviews is, if prepared enough, you can always find the right thing to say no matter the question. To make sure, the candidate you interviewed has the required skills, share an assignment to evaluate their skill set.

    Sharing an assignment helps you understand the technical knowledge the candidate has, and their thought process when approaching a problem. Also, assigning a deadline can help you assess their time management skill, a critical skill required during the early stages of any company.
  6. Don’t underestimate the value of “Cultural-fit.”

    The final check in your hiring process is to check the cultural-fit which should never be underestimated. It’s the initial culture that you build that paves the way for your organization for years to come. It determines how your team members, from founders to interns, interact within the organization. Hiring employees that fail to be cultural-fit can be catastrophic for your organization, as it might lead to internal conflicts, disengaged and demotivated workforce.

    So, before you finalize a candidate, make sure to spend enough time to understand how they think about work, about your mission and the kind of a workplace they want to build. If you both see eye to eye, well you’ve found your hire and don’t let them go. If not, don’t fret there is enough talent available in today’s digitally connected world.
  7. Regularly engage your potential hires

    It’s common for candidates today to not show up on their first day. From the time the offer letter is signed to the time your hire joins your organization, there are a lot of anxieties founders and hiring managers have to deal with. To make sure you don’t lose out your perfect hire make sure you regularly engage with them.

    Reaching out to them from time-to-time to enquire how they’re doing, and how things are shaping up, and also, sharing company updates and insights, can keep them motivated and look forward to joining your team.
  8. Ensure your onboarding process is smooth and not haphazard

    The first few weeks of an employee joining your team are the most critical weeks to ensure the relationship is a long-lasting and fruitful one. Make sure your new hire doesn’t have to go through piles of paperwork and document submission, you must automate these tasks using an HR software to lessen the burden on yourself, as well as, your new hire.

    Also, having a planned framework of all the training to be conducted and knowledge to be transferred can help your new hire cope with a new environment without being overwhelmed with all the information at one go.
  9. Make sure you’ve got the legal side covered

    And finally, making sure all legal work is in order before you hire your first employee. Yes, legal work! Something every founder and business owner must have covered, but rarely do.

    Get in touch with a lawyer to know the legalities of hiring an employee and to draft a legally binding employment agreement. An employment agreement safeguards you and your organization in case of illegal or unethical practices followed by your employee.

Bonus Tips

  • Patience is the key

    When hiring your first employees being patient is the key to onboarding the right employees. You might have to go through dozens of candidates before you find someone with the appropriate skill set and the right mindset.

    Do not get swayed by a fancy resume or a candidate that can use all the right words when needed instead focus on competency and ensure they are ready to get their hands dirty.
  • Hire on contract-basis before hiring full-time

    There might be an instance when you find a candidate with the required skills and fits perfect in your work culture. They might not just feel like the right candidate or, they might have their own concerns regarding the company.

    In such a scenario, it’s advisable to onboard the candidate on a contract basis. This gives both parties involved ample time to gauge each other and decide the best way to proceed.

These are the 11 tips if followed are bound to ensure you onboard the right people to help you grow your business and reach milestones for years to come.