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Congratulations on your upcoming hiring journey! We know how exhilarating it is to expand your team, but we also understand that it can be quite stressful, especially if it's your first time.
We got you.
Why Talent Matters
It's easy to overlook the value of talent. After all, you're paying them to do a job, right? However, the truth is that the talent you bring on board, particularly as a startup, can make all the difference between success and failure.
We genuinely believe in setting you up for success, which is why we want to share five essential components of the hiring process that will help you identify the absolute best fit for your team.
Identify What You Need
Let's face it: writing job descriptions can be a drag, and oftentimes, they fail to clearly communicate what you truly require from a candidate. But before you can effectively articulate your needs, you must have a crystal-clear understanding of what you want in an ideal candidate. This can be the trickiest part.
The more specific you are, the easier it becomes to find the right person for the job.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What would you like this person to achieve in a year? Think beyond immediate tasks and consider the long-term impact they can have. Envision their role evolving over the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, and incorporate those aspects into the job description. If you're unsure, seek advice from someone who has hired for a similar position—they can offer valuable insights into the role's potential growth.
What defines your company's work style? Your company culture goes beyond ping-pong tables and kegs — it reflects how work gets done. Although your office culture may still be shaping up, it's crucial to proactively consider what you'd like it to be. Align your hiring with the desired work environment. Be transparent about employee expectations. If you anticipate long hours, make sure you understand what motivates your employees to put in the extra effort, be it better compensation, growth opportunities, or recognition.
What motivates your ideal candidate? Different people are driven by different motivations, and these can change over time. Understanding what motivates your ideal candidate is vital. Is it money, status, purpose, personal growth, empowerment, or teamwork? If you can't offer a large salary, highlighting these alternative motivations becomes crucial in attracting the right talent to your open role.
Preparing for the Interview
Congratulations on scheduling those interviews—high five! Now it's time to prepare. You might be thinking, "Wait, isn't that the candidate's job?" While it is, it's equally your responsibility to come prepared.
Before your first interview:
Review the position description and goals. Take a moment to revisit the goals you outlined for the role at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Since you last considered them, you've likely tackled a multitude of tasks, so refreshing your memory and having those goals top of mind during the interview is essential.
Prepare your questions. When running a startup, it's tempting to believe you can wing it during an interview. Sure, you can, but it's not in your best interest. Take the time to think critically about the questions you want to ask. Lucky for you, we've compiled a kick-ass list, which you can find at the end of this guide.
Set dress code expectations. Interviews can be nerve-wracking! The more comfortable your candidates feel, the better insights you'll gain into their true selves. Communicate your dress code expectations. Do you prefer a full suit or business casual attire? Let them know. It may seem trivial, but saving candidates the guessing game allows them to focus on what truly matters—their talent and fit for your team!
One question you should ask every candidate, regardless of whether you believe they're suitable for the position: "Are there any reasons why you wouldn't accept this job if offered?"
Top Talent Doesn't Search, They Shop
Highly sought-after talent always has options when it comes to job offers. They might already be employed or have just finished another opportunity. It's quite likely they'll receive multiple offers.
So, what makes them choose you? This thought should guide your interview process from the very beginning. Remember, it's a two-way street—they're interviewing you too.
Paint the picture. When you're seeking early talent, especially when equity is a significant component of the offer, their belief in you and your vision becomes crucial in their decision-making process. These individuals are risk-takers, and articulating your vision and how you plan to achieve it is paramount. Let your passion for the idea and its execution shine through—it can be truly contagious and make all the difference in a candidate's acceptance of your offer.
Discover their goals. Beyond questions about their background and strengths, delving into a candidate's motivations is crucial. Why are they interested in working for you? What did they enjoy most about their previous job? What were they lacking in that opportunity? The more you understand what drives a person, the better equipped you are to evaluate whether they're the right fit for your team.
Uncover your weaknesses. There's one question you should ask every candidate, regardless of whether you believe they're suitable for the position: "Are there any reasons why you wouldn't accept this job if offered?" This not only helps you understand their concerns (valuable information for future interviews), but also allows you to address any potential obstacles preventing them from accepting the job. By asking, you eliminate guesswork—and you can't afford to guess wrong!
More Than Just Money and Equity
When we think about job offers, the first thing that comes to mind is payment, be it in cash or equity. While salary is undoubtedly important, candidates consider various other factors when deciding whether to accept a job.
Location. This refers to the city you operate in or even the neighborhood where your office is situated. Is your location easily accessible for your employees? If you don't have a physical office, will they have access to a coworking space? People care about where they work, both visually and geographically.
Health Insurance. Can you provide health insurance to your employees? If not, acting as a resource and offering guidance can be helpful. Establish a relationship with a trusted local insurance broker and emphasize that you recognize the importance of health insurance by providing resources. This gesture can go a long way until you can offer your own insurance coverage to employees.
Flexible Work. Working for a startup often comes with the benefit of flexibility. However, this should only be discussed if it genuinely exists within your company culture; otherwise, retention will become a major challenge. If your company truly supports work-from-home days and flexible scheduling (without micromanagement), it can be a significant selling point for certain talents.
Creative Benefits. With a smaller team, you have the freedom to introduce more unconventional benefits. Why not hire a yoga instructor for a weekly class? Or designate "school holidays" as company-wide days off? We love the idea of making the first 80-degree day of the year an automatic holiday. Bonding activities also play an important role and can be appealing to new employees. The sky's the limit!
We hope these insights help you navigate the hiring process smoothly and find a great fit for your growing team. If you have any questions or need support, please reach out.
Wishing you all the best in your hiring endeavors!
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