The Challenges Of Hiring At A Start-Up

(This is contributed content, intended to be useful and informative – I’m not a Human Resources professional – but I can refer you to one from my network.)

When your start-up is ready to grow, identifying and onboarding the right talent is one of the most challenging tasks you’ll have to tackle.

Grow Your Start-up

Hiring great talent will not only turn your start-up into a great place to work, but will also boost you towards your overarching goals. On the other hand, hiring poor talent will burn a hole in your capital reserves, and hurt the company culture. Here are some of the biggest challenges you’ll face when hiring for your start-up, and some tips on how to overcome them.

Finding Self-Motivated Professionals

There’s a distinct lack of what recruiters call “start-up people” in the modern job market. One of the first challenges you’ll face is finding people who have the motivation to work in a small, fledgeling business. Aside from the skills they’ll need to hit the ground running in their role, it’s essential to gauge the candidate’s capacity for self-motivation, where this motivation is coming from, and what their associated expectations are, both in the short and the long term. If you hire people with a lack of motivation and self-discipline, the whole business’s productivity will suffer. There’s a more in-depth article on this on Forbes you may find useful.

Calculating Compensation

Challenges Of Hiring At A Start-Up

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When your available capital is so stretched, it can be hard to offer up competitive salaries for all the positions you need filling. When it comes to setting compensation, you need to achieve a delicate balancing act, giving prospective candidates enough motivation to apply for your jobs without crippling your business financially. You may need to strain your resources a lot to find the kind of talent you need, or even hire in some outside help to get a good ballpark figure. Job evaluation schemes, such as that offered by Croner, provide a basis for a grading and pay structure, as well as a means to check and demonstrate you are providing equal pay for equal work. Sometimes, you may be able to attract great talent while still offering a small salary, by putting some attractive benefits on the table. Career development opportunities and a promise for a reference in the future can be exceedingly cost-effective ways to attract the crème-de-la-crème.

Assessing Soft Skills

Typically, you’ll have a round of interviews, meet with some of the other higher-ups at your business, and judge the candidates you have based on their existing skillset, and their previous experience in the work they’ll be doing. However, it’s important not to brush over what’s known as “soft skills”. The candidate’s communication skills, their level of maturity, their attitude to the tasks you’ll be giving them, and other less measurable skills will all be essential, whether they work in your marketing department or your R&D. Assessing these can be extremely hard, especially if you have no experience managing recruitment drives. However, it’s a very important job to make time for. You may hire someone to a certain position due to their impressive qualifications and experience, but later find out that their attitude simply doesn’t mesh with the company culture, and have to let them go.

When you’re at the stage of recruiting your first team members, always seek professional advice and don’t be tempted to take shortcuts or avoid your statutory responsibilities (i.e. by making everyone in your team ‘self-employed’). I have some great Human Resources professionals in my network, just ask!

*This is contributed content*


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