Ready To Build A Great Startup Team? Stay Humble, Be Patient

How can you attract the right talent? We asked two UK-based startups to share their coveted staffing tips.

One of the best ways to grow your business is to build a talented team. Eventually, every founder will need a strong team of people who each bring invaluable skills and experience to the table—strengths that you, as an individual, don’t have.

So, how can you attract the right talent? What is the best advice HR experts and founders can share to support your growing team? We asked two UK-based startups to share their coveted staffing tips.


Recruiting? Stay Humble, Be Patient

First up, Sophie Hendley is the Recruitment Partner at YPlan, an app that provides users with details of events taking place in their city, and has recently been named the fastest-growing startup in the UK by The Next Web.


How important is your team to the success of your business?

It’s the most important thing to us. We’re only as good as the people we employ which is why the company co-founders, Rytis and Viktoras, still interview every candidate looking to join the company.

Though working for a startup is certainly an exhilarating experience – challenging the status quo, encouraging consumers and incumbents, alike, to rethink the way they interact with the world – it also requires a lot of hard work, long hours and dedication to the job. Working as part of such a tight knit team you really notice the positive impact you can have when everyone is working towards the same goal.


How do you attract new talent?

We work hard to make sure we’re in as many places as possible so that potential candidates have more opportunities to bump into us. We sponsor events, run our own hack days (to meet developers) and speak at a variety of technology and business conferences to give prospective employees a better idea of what we do.

We’re particular about who we hire, but candidates don’t have to come from a startup background. We recruit from PR and marketing agencies, banking, editorial, recruitment, you name it.


What advice do you have for startups looking to grow their team?

Stay humble and be patient. No matter how fast you’re growing, how many accolades you’ve won or how much funding you’ve got in the bank, be prepared to sell yourself, particularly if you want to hire the best.

The interview should be a chance for you to work out if the candidate is a good fit for your business, but you should also leave room to create a two-way dialogue. Your product may be disruptive, your revenue healthy and your user-figures strong, but don’t take it personally if candidates take time to mull over your offer.


Happy Teams Are Efficient Teams

Next, Steve Thair, the co-founder of DevOpsGuys, a web-application management service for e-businesses — recently listed as one of ‘Twenty Startups You Should Know About’ by Industry Insiders — shares his tips on recruiting talent.


How important is your team to the success of your business?

Our team is everything. Teamwork, collaboration and sharing are integrally part of our business strategy. We believe that it is impossible to function fluidly, successfully and well without a happy, communicative team that works openly and understands the demands of each others roles within projects.


How do you attract new talent?

By practicing what we preach. In every aspect of company life we’ve created a bright, friendly, approachable team with a focus on transparency and openness. Everyone fully understands the workload of everyone else on the team and it means that everyone is able to work together to work efficiently and effectively.


What advice do you have for startups looking to grow their team?

Happy teams are efficient teams. If your team feels able to talk openly with each other about their work (and feel supported) their performance will be infinitely better. We don’t believe in regimented work patterns and inflexibility.

If you are enjoying your work then you’ll want to do it; you can engage with tasks and see things through to the end, because you will feel a personal investment and connection not only with your team, but with the task you have been working on.

Job satisfaction and a sense of achievement, combined with being part of a team working together to reach goals is the recipe for a successful team and a successful business.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Ian Butterworth is the Director and Senior Consultant at Lucas Blake. Lucas Blake specializes in the recruitment of sales professionals within the Information Technology and Telecommunications sectors throughout the UK and Europe. Connect with @lucasblakeltd on Twitter.


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