As a tech startup, it’s difficult to decide when to make your first hire, especially if you are operating without investment. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to when you should recruit a new employee, and who you should hire. Each company has different needs.
Because each new tech startup usually includes a team of founders, each with their own different set of skills and experiences, it is important to understand where your gaps lie. Making the wrong hiring decisions can be very costly to a startup. Creating an employee hiring roadmap can help you pinpoint when and where additional expertise is needed.
When making your first hire, your roadmap should cover:
Once you have highlighted what knowledge and skills are missing, and at what point in the business evolution you will need them, follow these steps:
Remember that whatever you decide in your hiring process, you’ll need to budget for the resources you need and when you need them. Full-time permanent employees expect a certain level of long-term commitment.
Early-stage, unfunded tech startups can sometimes struggle to attract candidates because of the perceived risk. If you know you only have the money to engage someone for six months, it may make sense to start with a six-month contract, and only extend it to full-time permanent if and when your startup is secure enough to make a longer-term commitment.
Generally, early-stage CEOs and CTO/VP engineering roles are filled by founders. Often, early hires fill executive or junior/support roles, such as:
There is a growing number of part-time and “virtual” resources available to fill these roles on a flexible schedule, and they often work for more than one startup at a time.
An arrangement like this enables startups to access expertise in areas such as marketing and human resources much earlier than ever before. This can help position your company for greater success without a sizable upfront investment in full-time employment.