Building your startup team from scratch: a quick guide

24 Nov 2015

Have you ever built a team from scratch? Before you begin to grow your startup, you have to grow your team. There are many components that make up a successful startup. If you do not hire people, you will be taking care of a lot of things yourself. You need to create a business where certain components can run independently. The business is only successful if it makes money while you’re asleep. In this article we’ll tell you why you should start building your team as soon as you can afford to.


Identification of what to hire

First you need to decide what are the key positions you need to fill? Sales, administration, marketing, copywriting, translation, design, SEO, social media, accounts, project management, programming, user experience, which of these positions require filling immediately? You and your co-founder(s) need to prioritize whom to hire first. You need to decide whether these hires are going to be contract, part time or full time employees, consultants or freelancers, etc. Also think about your budget and how many people you can afford to hire at this point.

Identification of who to hire

Now that you know what positions you need to fill, the next step is to identify candidates. Think about the experience you need them to have, the skills you’re looking for, are they able to take a limited salary at the early stage of your startup, do they want equity, and most importantly, do you they understand and appreciate the product you’re trying to build?

Interview/testing stage

Once you’ve figured out the candidate, it is time to interview them. Create a roadmap for the interview. Your questions should dig out the facts about the candidate’s background and assess their creative thinking, problem solving and behavior attributes. For a certain position, a test might give you more accurate results to judge a candidate. For instance, every content writer that Zenparent hires is subjected to a written test on a specific topic chosen by the company, and another topic of their own choice. This not only tests the writing skills of the candidate, but also their ability to think on their feet and make quick decisions and how they perform under pressure. You also let your other team members talk to the candidate or group interview them if you prefer. You will see how the candidate communicates with other team members and if he or she can actually get the job done. After the interview also do some fact checking of the candidate’s background.

Once the candidate is hired, you need to have a system in place to track growth, plan for incentives, and see how they fit in with the company culture. This means you’ll have to get strategies in place for training, promotion, and career development.

One of the things you will struggle with is where to find candidates. Networking and startup events are a good place to find talented people. you are very likely to find people here who have the startup mindset and have a better idea of what it’s like to work in such an environment. most techies at such events are looking to work in a place where they can experiment and work on building the next big thing. so they can compromise initially on salary in exchange for equity. Look up job boards like Naukri, Monster and keep track of people on LinkedIn. Also consider references. You could ask to go through your investors’ contacts and ask your mentors. You need to spend particular time and effort recruiting your C-level team: your chief technology, finance, and operations officers. Effectively, they are the leaders of your company whom everyone else in your team will work under. They will define your company’s culture and you should spend extra time making sure they are competent individuals who are great leaders and managers.

If a particular team member is not working out, be open to letting them go. Keep giving them feedback and if they’re still not up to your standard, you need to do what is best for your startup. You want to build a scalable business that makes a huge impact, then you have to also start building your team that way. If you can find people who meet the above criteria, you have a great chance of putting together a winning team.

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