For a start-up company, your first five to ten new employees have the potential to make or break your business. Taking the leap from a partnership or sole entrepreneur to a new employer can be a nerve-wracking experience. These five handy tips can help put you on the road to recruit your first team with confidence:

1) Company culture

For a small start-up, whether a new teammate fits in with your ethos and company culture is often more important than their qualifications and experience. Having a skilled team is important of course, but in a start-up a small group of people are likely to work long hours in a close-knit, emotionally charged and sometimes stressful environment. It is, therefore, important that your first few employees are all singing from the same page so to speak, have a similar point of view and can pull together for a common cause.

2) Fill your skills gap

At first you may be wondering where to start in hiring a team. A good place to begin is to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the founder members of the company. Hire people with strengths that overcome the weaknesses of the founders, thus creating a team with complementary differences.

3) Break the mold

It can be tempting to model your expansion on the traditional job roles and descriptions used by other companies in your industry, but as a start-up you have the luxury of throwing away the rule book and writing a new one. Don’t be hidebound by conventional roles and expectations. Take a cold, hard look at what your company needs to expand and grow, and create a bespoke role to match.

4) Long-term thinking

When creating roles and looking at your business needs, don’t think purely about what you need right now and for the next six months. Think of your long-term goals, and recruit the way you want to be in five, 10, 15 years’ time. When recruiting managers especially, try to picture how a person may grow into their role and the characteristics they could bring to their job in order to lead your company into the future.

5) Speak to the experts

Perhaps the best people to advise on how to recruit for start-ups, are people who have already notched up a track record of successfully helping start-ups create new teams. Talk to a recruitment agency with experience in your industry. They are likely to have worked with people in your situation before, and may have handy advice to set you on the right track and help you overcome your blind spots.

At First Base we love working with start-up businesses and are committed to helping you find a killer team to drive your business forward. For free, impartial advice, please pick up the phone, and we look forward to speaking to you.

Tricia Hay

Tricia Hay is Owner, Director of First Base Employment Limited

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