There's no getting around it. New business owners have a laundry list of things to do, and one of the most pressing questions can be: How do startups hire employees?
That's because hiring your first employees is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make. It's not just another task to complete, especially when it comes to startup hiring. Employees can make or break a business and hiring the right people for the right job is a skill that takes time to develop.
Get it right, and good employees can not only make your business more profitable, but also rewarding.
If you’re approaching the stage of early employee hiring, there are some important things to keep in mind in order to make your candidate search both easier and more effective. (There are also several things you'll want to avoid doing when starting your talent hunt.) We also have various tools to help you at this stage, including our payroll tax calculator which can help you plan. From offering the right compensation package to knowing where to begin searching, Incfile and our network of influential experts have advice for how to hire your first employees and kickstart your hiring strategy.
Look to Your Own Network
When it comes to looking for your first employees, you don’t always have to look too far. Your own network can be one of the best sources for top talent and trustworthy employees.
Ryan Luke, a financial coach at Arrest Your Debt, says that your first employees should ideally be from your personal network. This is the easiest source of candidates, mostly because you already know those people and how they could potentially help grow your business.
However, if you don’t have the connections you're seeking within your own network, the next best places are social media and online job boards. “The best way to do this is to create a LinkedIn profile for yourself and your business and then search for job postings related to your industry,” Luke says. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for hiring talent, or if you want to look even further, online job boards like Indeed.com and Monster.com can be fruitful too.
Discover Your “True North”
Patti Wood, a body language expert and author, has several tips for hiring new employees. Her go-to advice? Follow your "True North," meaning, as Woods says, “thinking about a person in your life who you think is the most credible person you know. What is it about them that makes you feel that way?”
Once you recognize the most credible, honest and trustworthy person in your life, you should be able to quickly calibrate whether a candidate matches up to this person or not.
While other factors like education and experience are important when hiring a strong team, Woods believes that the credibility factor from first impressions is just as important. “There’s authenticity that you don’t get with most people,” Woods says, and that can make all the difference.
Develop a Strategy to Attract Top Talent
When deciding how to hire your first employees, don't walk through it blindly. Taking even a few hours to brainstorm a strategy can be well worth it. Especially with startup hiring, an alluring and persuasive strategy is incredibly important for long-term success. Startups that tracked their hiring process were 58 percent more likely to hit their goals.
Conor OBrien, product director at SimplyHired, states how important it is to put together the best compensation package possible without putting your company at risk. “Offering the most competitive salary is the best start,” OBrien says. This is often what top talent will look at first when searching the market for new jobs.
However, even for a young business without much leverage, there are other ways you can attract top talent in the hiring process. “If a market-value salary isn’t quite in the cards yet, perks like remote work, open paid time off and flexible working hours are in high demand,” OBrien says. It’s not always about the money for some candidates and you can build in other factors to your recruitment strategy, including flexible working arrangements and greater equity.
You might also want to consider hiring outside of standard full-time roles. For instance, using freelancers or independent contractors is a great way to pull in some extra help and great talent, without the hassle of managing full-time salaries, benefits and more.
Remember, starting in your network is always best, as mentioned above, but also, the more resources you have to find the best freelance workers, the better.
Establishing a strong company mission that resonates with prospective employees can help persuade candidates. “Employees want to be part of something bigger and your candidates will be looking for how their potential role will make a contribution to the world around them,” Mallory explains. Whether it’s a mission directly related to your products or perhaps the impact your business will make in the community, it should be something that people will be quick to jump on board with and want to help you work towards.
No matter if you're hiring one or 10 employees, Incfile is here to support your business growth. We can come alongside your small business journey and help take your company in the direction you want it to go.
Jenna Scatena is a writer and content strategist with a love for stories that have never been told before. More than a decade of working with prominent magazines and brands informs her approach to impactful storytelling. Her stories have reached more than 30 million readers, won multiple awards and been anthologized in books. Jenna's work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Marie Claire, The San Francisco, BBC and The Atlantic. She's the founder of the editorial consultancy, Lede Studio.