A founder can (and should) only fly solo for so long. When it’s time to scale, it’s also time to find the right people who will help you create something bigger and better than you could on your own.
But consider this: “Do you know where to start? What are your bargaining points?”
You need to locate, vet and hire talented people to believe in your startup more than they believe in an established and much larger company that is already well established. This is not an easy task. Talented professionals aren’t likely to take on anything they could consider to be too risky if a clear reward is not available.
Knowing what skills to look for, what to say to a potential new hire, and how to meet talented candidates will make your search less aimless and time consuming. So, here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
First, make sure you’re prepared with everything you need. Make sure you have a job description on file and can clearly articulate your vision for your company, the culture you are cultivating and the type of people that excel in roles you’ve considered hiring. Know how to market yourself, and your company, effectively. When you communicate your “why” and what you’re looking for, you can preclude high turnover and hiring remorse.
Attend Industry Events
Strategically attend industry trade shows and conventions that apply to your niche and the roles you’re seeking to fill. Social functions are casual enough to provide strong network opportunities, yet create a professional business environment where people can shine (and openly discuss their career in more detail). More often than not, freelancers and consultants attend conventions to explore their opportunities. This is exactly when you want to meet them. Find people who specialize in fields that would be relevant to your startup and get to know them. Meeting as many people as you can will improve your knowledge of their work and the likelihood to find rock star talent.
Always Be Networking
You’ve likely heard the phrase uttered by actor Alec Baldwin, “Always be closing,” from the 90’s cult classic Glengarry Glen Ross. This applies to networking too.
Networking may easily be the fastest way to find reliable leads on potential employees. Maybe a certain company only requires temporary or seasonal work from a talented workers, and they would make a recommendation. Meanwhile, peers in your field will likely know of others that are making to look lateral moves or gain a promotion.
Attending university career fairs, career days, targeted club and “discipline-specific” society events is a great way to find fresh, new talent who may be looking for the exact opportunity you have to offer. A lot of undergrad and graduate students have started their search for jobs well in advance of graduation. You’re likely to find innovative and curious minds who are determined to make an impact; especially at an entry level. These are the kind of people you want working for your startup.
Create an Internship Program
Recent grads and enrolled students are always searching for relevant internships to gain real world experience that will give them an edge. Potential interns are often talented individuals that want to shine in internship roles to later gain a recommendation and credentials to later enter a difficult job market.
Finding talent for your startup isn’t as difficult as you may think if you’re willing to think outside of the box and make the effort.
This article has been edited and condensed.