Challenges start-ups face when recruiting for the first time

By Sarah Murphy

It is fair to say that all companies face challenges while hiring, whether these be skill or “fit” related. It can be a struggle finding the right people for your team or business. However skills can be gained or trained. If you’re hiring for a specific skill-set, with the ease of access to professional sites such as LinkedIn, xing, job boards etc. it is possible to find someone that can do the job. I would say that the hardest part to get right while hiring into a start-up is all about the “fit” of the person.
The main two components to “fit” when recruiting for the first  time are: personality & drive and it is vital to get them right. Firstly personality; for a new company or start-up, sometimes hiring for a specific set of skills can be detrimental, the reason for this is that as the start-up scales up in size the last thing you want in your new company is for somebody in your team to say (or even think) “that isn’t in my job description”. Of course you need the skills, but this shouldn’t come second to personality.
However, the core group have to muck-in, whether it is going to the shop to buy tea and coffee in the morning and then to present to an important client/investor in the afternoon, you need the people that see this as a rewarding challenge and not be phased by the diversity (and sometimes lack of structure) of the day that working in a new business presents.
Secondly drive;  your first recruits will set the tone for the business, potentially for years to come. It is imperative that the people that you hire into your team believe in the vision for your business. Finding the people that will stay late when they haven’t been asked, to finish an important project even if it means working more hours than contracted, the ones that take on the additional tasks, even if it is buying sandwiches for everyone that stays late are important; there have to be strong links in the team bond. The ones that see taking a risk of working for a small company as much of an exciting and rewarding challenge as it is and are happy to take on more responsibility until they reach senior positions in the company. After all, there are no greater brand ambassadors and mentors, to growing teams than the core people that have put in their all, into getting a business to where it is.
About Sarah Murphy

Advisor, social enterprise start-up co-founder and technology recruitment expert. Sarah supports Empowering Futures as an Advisor, she is currently a global recruiter for Tonic, a boutique global recruitment agency that partners with global financial institutions to source the best technology consultants, as well as advising on recruitment strategies both in London & Globally.

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