Picture of Daria Shulepova

Daria Shulepova

The Founder’s Guide to Hiring a Strong Team (before you start interviewing)

If you are a founder looking to hire and don’t have an in-house recruitment team, here are some tips I wanted to share after recruiting for startups & tech companies of all sizes in the region…

Make sure that you are ready to hire now

Check your financials: are you ready to take on a significant recurring expense? If not, define a timeline for your investment. 

Reevaluate your options: perhaps you can first outsource this role before committing to a full-time hire?

Have a clear “ideal candidate” profile 

How many years of experience are needed, what are the must-have skills, what skills are nice to have, what else is important? 

Translate the above into a brief job description, and make sure the position fills gaps in your current team, but also remember that unicorns don’t exist – so don’t try to fill all the gaps with one role.

Time to start the search process

First, reach out to your network to get referrals.

If unlucky, consider working with a recruiter who can tap into a talent pool out of your reach.

Make sure you have time! 

Hiring is a time-consuming process, a typical recruitment/interview cycle can take anywhere between 2 to 6 weeks and around 10-15 interviews, so make sure you and your team are responsive and available.

Define your EVP – Employer Value Proposition

You are competing with so many other startups just like yours for rare talent. What will you offer top candidates to consider joining your company vs another?

Things to consider: culture & values, compensation (base/equity), perks, ownership, growth potential, flexibility, etc..

Remember, certain things don’t cost money, but they do matter for candidates and help you stand out.

Don’t fall for “big names”

If you are only focusing on hiring only from an “ex-famous” company – you might be seriously limiting your options.

Yes, getting into the Googles and Airbnbs is not easy, but even these sometimes make bad hiring decisions (we’ve all seen it), so a big name is not a guarantee of a quality hire.

Moreover, you’re probably looking for someone who wore multiple hats in early-stage environments.

Involve experts in your interview process

If you don’t have expertise in a certain area that you are hiring for, I strongly recommend involving an expert into your interviewing process to help you test for specific technical skills.

Where to find such experts? Ask your friends, investors, fellow founders you trust or hire a consultant – the cost of getting expert help will be less than the cost of a bad hire.

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