The First Hire: How to Find the Right Startup Employee


Hiring the first employee for your startup is a major decision and a very important step ahead. The business is picking up and you need more people on board to help you sustain that growth and keep the company going in the right direction. Startups are dynamic ventures that constantly change and sometimes need to pivot, so the team should be ready to face these changes without to lose focus and direction, without to lose passion and devotion. The co-founders set the tone when it comes to situations like this, but the early-stage employees are also important pillar of every startup success.

What do you look for in a startup employee?

Working in a startup is very challenging and requires much more than just high skill set and rich experience. Entrepreneurs look for a mix of qualities in the potential candidates. Talent, passion, creativity, curiosity, devotion, determination, reliability and flexibility are just a small part of these qualities. Working in a startup is exhausting and requires a lot of personal sacrifices. The first employee of the company should be highly devoted to the idea behind the product, to share the same vision and to embrace the startup’s mission.

Create a list with the qualities that matter the most for your business and use this as a stepping stone when the time to start the search comes. Look for people, who have passion for entrepreneurship and innovation and are not interested in working for a startup just because of the money. Try to find person, who matches the high-priority criteria and complements the skills and talent of the co-founders.

Start the hiring process much earlier

Once you know what the main criteria that you have for the perfect employee for your company are, it becomes easier to sift the candidates. Finding the right first-time employee should be listed as a goal in your long-term strategy, so you will always be looking for potential candidates. This will help you to pick out potential matches when you meet new people at networking and pitching events, when you talk with fellow entrepreneurs and other talented professionals, who are interested in working in a startup.

How you can make your business appealing to the right candidate?

In the entrepreneurial world, there is a constant hunger for talent. Startups are competing over hiring the best candidates, so you should do your best to make your company more appealing to the right people. Start by writing good job description of the position you are hiring for. Remember that the candidates must have the right information – what do you look for, what your startup mission is, are you offering equity, what the salary will be, what the work environment is like and so on.

To make your business more attractive to potential employees of high talent, who often have a lot of demands and look for high standards, is important step. Make sure that the way you build your company culture matches truly your business and vision and try to implement some of the best practices. If you offer flexible work hours, comfortable office space that inspires and motivates, encouragement to be creative and potential to grow for the employee as a professional and as a person, you are to increase your chances in attracting the right person for this extremely important position in your company.

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