The strategies for finding great candidates varies a lot depending on the size of your company. If you have less than 5 employees, you will be looking for a completely different set of candidates than if your company is 50–100 employees or more. Why? Because the kinds of people who want to work for a high growth, very fluid and autonomous start-up with less than say, 20 employees, will not want to work for a big company that requires a lot of steering.
Those buzz words like autonomy, flexibility, and authority are so woven into the thinking of potential hires at the small stage start-up that it’s no use even talking about it — it’s a given. These people will not respond to job ads. They will be found via word of mouth, trusted referrals, may be graduates right out of school, are at meet-ups, or maybe at tech conferences or code battles. Traditional recruiting firms and job boards will probably not be of any help to you at all.
At an early stage, the only reason why candidates will work for you is the challenge of the work, the vision for the company, and the prospective compensation you offer.
A good recruiter in your area, who does more than just take in resumes and fill positions for corporate clients (the ones who actually give a shit about employee fit) can tell you where these candidates are, if you don’t already know. These recruiters know where the truely skilled candidates are, because they attend all those events, waiting in the wings for when the start-ups and tech companies have had their pick of the best people, hoping to get the few remaining.
At this stage, the only reason why candidates will work for you is the challenge of the work, the vision for the company, and the prospective compensation you offer. The task of finding the right skills for the tasks is entirely up to you as the CEO and/or founder.
See startup jobs at 402 Chicago startups. Apply privately. Get salary, equity and funding info upfront. No recruiters…angel.co
Until you have 50+ employees, finding and attracting candidates, doing interviews and assessing skills is 100% the job of the founders because you have the vision and know what needs doing. After about 50 or so employees, the jobs become more diverse and a dedicated HR professional is generally needed to keep the Talent processes on rails.
For more in the series on The Absolute Minimum a Start-Up CEO Needs to Know About HR