To hire your first startup employee, start with a list of 1500 people.

Yes, that’s a lot of work, but there’s no real alternative.

The best way Hiring someone for your startup is through your own network, but even the most well-connected startup founder will find themselves burned out pretty quickly.

So what is a founder to do if he wants to find a good candidate? Recruitment companies can be really good at finding candidates if you have a very clear idea of ​​what you need and a tight job application. However, for early-stage founders, that can often be tricky. In practice, startup recruitment begins as an iterative process that helps you crystallize your requirements as you engage in conversations with high-quality candidates.

But how the heck do you optimize for that? Well, we spoke with Chris Quintero, the CEO of suppliesprintsfor inside information on how founders can run a successful first-time recruiting process.

“Referrals are great, everyone likes referrals, but most of the time, the founders attack very quickly,” says Quintero. “Early-stage founders post on social media, email a couple of people, and when they haven’t hired anyone yet, the process stalls. So you need to find a different approach. The next step is to hire outside of your immediate network.”

He points out that startups can take the tried-and-tested approach to hiring, but that can take a long time: “TThe traditional recruiting model works well if you’re late in the business or replacing an existing role, so you know exactly what you’re looking for.”

But your first hire in a category, Quintero suggests, is more like a fishing expedition, one made that much more difficult because no one has heard from you or your company yet.

“The process is fairly simple. From a sourcing standpoint, it’s about identifying a couple of hypotheses around people who might be a good fit for the role. Start by preparing a job application so that there is an agreement between you and your co-founders on what the basic requirements are,” explains Quintero.

From there, start mapping companies that are similar to yours and search for comparable talent. “It’s very hard to know if you’re looking for a unicorn or someone who actually exists.”

In several of my own startups, this “Does this person exist?” The question has bitten me pretty hard. Of course, you want an experienced person who can grow and eventually lead a team, but you need to be a great collaborator by now, have recent and relevant experience, possess the ability to design front-end and back-end architecture while making sure that legal and compliance frameworks are all followed and you have a Rolodex of 20-30 people that you could hire as soon as it makes sense.

That would be great. Unfortunately, that person may not exist.

In the rest of this article, we’ll look at how to find and reach these potential candidates.


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