How to find tech talent for your startup? Here’s a 7-step guide to help you succeed
When building your startup, there are A LOT of things to focus on. One of the most challenging – and most important – is to get the right team in place. Recruiting is not simple, especially if you’re looking for a co-founder or people with tech skills. Therefore, we have put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you succeed with your tech hiring.
Step 1: Why are you looking for a new team member?
Start by asking yourself why you need another person. What should this individual help you achieve, let’s say, in the first six months? Is it a co-founding role or an employee you are looking for? It’s crucial to discuss and agree on this in your co-founding team before you start a hiring process.
Step 2: Define the profile (and ask for help if you lack the tech skills)
When you have defined what your new team member will work on, ask yourself what kind of experience and knowledge you think you should be looking for. If you don’t have the tech skills yourself, try to find someone in your network that does and ask them to help you with this step.
To verify that everyone on the founding team is on the same page, a great tip is to put together a list of five profiles from LinkedIn and go through them one at a time and discuss if you consider them relevant or not.
Step 3: Decide on a budget
Don’t forget to agree on your budget. What kind of salary (if any) are you able to offer? Maybe you can only offer equity to begin with until you have raised some money? The budget will have a big impact on which profiles will be relevant to you. (For more info on salary levels for tech profiles check Stack Overflow)
Step 4: Remote or not?
Remember, be careful not to define the profile and skills you are looking for too narrowly, then there is a big chance your talent pool gets very small and your chances for finding the right person get ridiculously small. Also, discuss if you need the person to work on-site or if you are open to broadening the search for people working remotely? This will expand your talent pool and give you more opportunities to find a great team member. There are a number of solutions today to make it easier to work with people located abroad, such as Deel and Omnipresent.
Step 5: Stand out from the crowd
When you have defined what the person will be working on, the budget, and if you’re going to hire a remote candidate or not, it’s time to put together a great pitch for the role. What are the interesting challenges that this person will help you solve? And what makes your business idea something really special? Write a job ad that gets people inspired (make sure to check the language for bias to be able to capture more great candidates) and ask your network to help spread the word!
Step 6: Boost your own headhunting efforts
Unfortunately, the reality today is that many great developers are not actively looking for a job. They get approached by recruiters on a weekly basis who are trying to convince them to change jobs. However, don’t let this demotivate you, rather see it as an opportunity to stand out by doing the same.
Not many founders reach out to candidates and pitch their company and job opportunities themselves. If you spend some time reaching out to relevant candidates, you will be more likely to get some replies than if you hired a recruiter to do it for you. Yes, it means you need to spend some time on this, but in the long run, it will be more efficient than just putting out a job ad and hoping for the best.
In the early phases of your startup, finding the right person to join your team will have a huge impact on your chances to succeed in the long run!
Step 7: Once you’ve found the right person – act quickly!
Think about how you would like the hiring process to look before you get started. For example, if you don’t have the tech skills in your current team, find someone who you could ask for a favor and help you with the tech skill evaluation.
Also, make sure that you don’t lose momentum when you have found an interesting candidate. Chances are high that they are talking with other companies simultaneously. Ask them what their time frame looks like! When it comes to putting together a hiring agreement, warrant agreement etc., a good source for templates is for example StartupTools.
Hiring for your startup will be a skill that you can develop over time. At Sting, we support our startups with team development and talent acquisition support for free when participating in our programs. Last year alone, we helped our startups to find more than 50 new employees, among them being CTOs, full-stack devs and frontend devs.