The HR Guide to Hiring for Startups

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The HR Guide to Hiring for Startups

Hiring for startups is a complicated matter, because startup employees usually play more roles than employees at large corporations. Whereas an HR professional in a corporate office typically focuses on one specialty, such as hiring, onboarding or retention, a startup HR pro must do all of it. If you’re hiring for a startup, here’s a guide to help you discover, hire, onboard and retain awesome startup employees.



You would be surprised at how many talented professionals are in your personal network, waiting to be discovered. Leverage your existing network and reach out to see if anyone knows of talented employees open to new opportunities. You could also use LinkedIn as a tool for this, and reach out to some of your connections to make an introduction.

Job boards

Job boards are the traditional way of finding employees. These are useful because they’re the go-do for many job seekers. Although physical job boards and postings are still done, there are many online job boards that have more reach. If you’re hiring for an international startup or a virtual one, then online job boards are your best bet because they can potentially reach professionals from around the world.

Online channels

Aside from online job boards, you can also advertise positions via your social media accounts and website. For example, you could place a careers page listing all your openings with their job descriptions, or you can add a section for people to submit their resumes virtually to see if there’s a fit. On social media, you have the option of sending out targeted ads, which can be used to promote a job listing.


Ace the interview

Interview tips are usually aimed towards job candidates, but it’s important for interviewers to do a good job, too. If you attract a high potential candidate, you don’t want to scare them away by wasting their time making them wait, or a bad overall interview experience. Remember, interviews are a chance for the job candidates to truly gauge whether or not they like the job. The evaluation goes both ways.

Place wisely

You need to look at more than a candidate’s qualifications when making a hire. You have to make sure he or she fits the company culture and position. Do this by evaluating their behaviors, strengths, weaknesses and overall personality.

Move quickly, but deliberately

Decide whether or not you want to hire a job candidate quickly, and inform them immediately with an offer. The longer you wait, the more likely that candidate is to accept another job. Plus, it looks bad on the startup if they keep their job candidates in the dark for too long, since it indicates their time isn’t valued.


Use mentors

Once you have your hires, be sure to assign mentors to facilitate a smooth onboarding process. In a startup, there aren’t many people to begin with, but having someone there to guide new hires can make the difference between frantic employees and a well-informed, functioning team.

Clarify roles and responsibilities

There are rarely defined “roles” in a startup, depending on how large the size. That being said, it’s important that your new hires know what their priorities are, and who to go to when they need help with different things. That means that you need to define the responsibilities of both the new hires, and the people they will be working with.

Check in regularly

Make sure things are going smoothly by taking the time to check in with new hires and see if they need anything else to succeed at their jobs.


Pay market rate

This one is a no-brainer, but startups must pay market rate for their talent. Many startups try to under-pay their talent, giving the excuse that the startup doesn’t have much income yet. However, top professionals are unlikely to work for under market rate, even if they are passionate about what a startup is doing.


Keep open lines of communication to alert you of anything that may be bothering your team, or hindering their performance. Make sure they can ask you about anything and that their concerns get addressed. In fact, Forbes lists poor communication as a top team killer.


No employee is going to last very long at a startup if they don’t have the resources to do their job well. It could be as simple as making sure they have efficient computers, or it could be as large as hiring an external auditor to prepare for a new accountant. Be in tune with what your employees need to succeed, and chances are they will.

What are your tips on hiring for startups?

Let us know in the comments below!

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