Hiring at an early stage startup: 5 tips to get it right

Hiring at an early stage startup: 5 tips to get it right

The first hires should all be “startup people” — they are good with ambiguity, have an innate ability to execute, aren’t afraid to take risks and fail, and are willing to roll up sleeves to help find solutions to problems as they arise.

— Gale Wilkinson
Hiring at an early stage startup is a challenge. The right hires can accelerate the business quickly, and the wrong ones can slow things to a halt. See 🧵for a few tips that may help! What else have you seen that works, founders + VCs?
The first hires should all be “startup people” — they are good with ambiguity, have an innate ability to execute, aren’t afraid to take risks and fail, and are willing to roll up sleeves to help find solutions to problems as they arise.
Look for cultural add. A startup team is small which makes it critical for everyone to have shared values and vision. Take time to outline what makes your company tick, and ensure that these elements are important to all new hires and that bring something new to the table.
Look for a positive attitude. Startup life is often exhilarating and more often that that, incredibly hard. Being in the trenches with people you like, trust, and who can lift up the team is invaluable.
Don’t hire for strategy roles too soon. The founder leads this for awhile. A head of engineering is often your first hire if the founding team doesn’t have this skill set. Technical founders often hire a product marketer first. Look for complementary skills that drive execution.
Hire admin support sooner than you think you’ll need it. The founders should be spending time on business development / sales and ensuring the product is being built in a way that meets customer needs. Offload any admin you can so that you maximize time talking to customers.
And finally, don’t get discouraged if you mishire. This happens quite often in early stage startups. When you onboard a new hire, set clear expectations and check in regularly for the first 3-6 mo. If it’s not working out, you’ll need to part ways and try again. <end 🧵>

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