Startups are notoriously fast-paced and ever-changing. One day you might be working on a project by yourself, and the next, you’ve employed a team of five people. With this in mind, knowing when the time is right to expand your team can be challenging. 

Naturally, you want to take advantage of opportunities, but you also want to hire quality team members quickly while avoiding hiring too early and ending up overstaffed.

Why Your Earliest Employees Are Crucial Hires

Your earliest employees are critical because they help you build and shape your startup. Furthermore, they provide valuable insights and feedback during the early stages of MVP product development and help you test and iterate on your initial business model.

Additionally, your earliest employees will be the ones who are with you through thick and thin and arguably the most challenging stages — they are the ones who see your early-stage startup scale from a small team to a much larger one. Because of this, it’s essential to take your time in hiring them and ensure they’re a good fit for you as a founder and your company.

When Should Early-Stage Startups Hire More People?

The biggest challenge for early-stage startups is figuring out when to hire more people. Do you wait until you’ve reached a certain number of users or revenue? Do you hire when you’re at capacity and can’t handle any more work (Spoiler: No! – this is too late!)? 

There’s no straightforward answer, but there are a few factors to consider.

Skills Gaps

If you find yourself constantly stretched thin, or if there are vital skills that are missing from your team, it’s time to start hiring. For example, if you’re a SaaS startup but are non-technical need someone on your team with a technical background, it might be time to start looking for an Engineering Lead or someone with a similar skill set.

Founding Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Knowing when to expand your team is essential as a startup. One way to determine this is by closely examining your founding team’s strengths and weaknesses.

For example, if you’re great at coming up with new ideas (a visionary!) but find it challenging to execute them, it might be time to bring on someone who can help. This could be someone in an Operations or Product Management role. Alternatively, if you’re struggling to keep up with the demand for your product or service, you’ll need to add more Implementation, Customer Success, and/or Account Manager roles to meet that demand.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you make the right decision regarding expanding your team. By being honest with yourself and understanding where your company needs help, you can ensure that you make the best decision for your business. Check out our Hiring Roadmap Free Download to plan for future hiring scenarios.

Which Roles Should Your Hire For?

Below are several key roles you should consider when recruiting for your startup:

  1. Business development: As your startup begins to scale, you’ll need someone focused on business development. This person will be responsible for identifying and pursuing new business opportunities. They will also be responsible for building and maintaining relationships with key partners.
  2. Customer success/support: As your customer base grows, you’ll need someone who focuses solely on keeping your customers happy. This person will manage customer support, handle customer inquiries, and ensure that your customers get the most out of your product or service.
  3. Marketing: Once you have a product or service ready for market, you’ll need someone to help get the word out. This person will be responsible for developing and executing marketing campaigns. They will also track and analyze marketing metrics to ensure your campaigns are effective.
  4. Sales: If you plan on selling your product or service, you’ll need someone on your team dedicated to that effort. This person will generate leads, close deals, and meet (or exceed!) sales targets.
  5. Operations/administration: As your startup grows, there will be an increasing need for operational support. Operational support could include everything from Accounting (we’re happy to help!) to managing office space and logistics.
  6. HR/recruiting: Once you hire more people, you’ll need someone to manage the recruitment process. This person will be responsible for sourcing and screening candidates, the interview process, and onboarding new hires. This is also something airCFO can help with via our People Operations Service offering.
  7. Product manager: If you have a product, you’ll need someone to oversee its development and ensure that it meets your customers’ needs. The product manager will manage the product roadmap, coordinate with engineering, and work with customers to gather feedback.

A job title doesn’t matter as much as the work that needs to be done. The key is identifying the roles critical to your startup’s success and finding the right people to fill those roles. Bad hires can be costly, so take your time and find the right fit for your team.

3 Essential Tips for a Seamless Hiring Process

Recruitment for startups can be a daunting task. To ensure you find the best possible candidates and avoid mistakes, here are a few tips to streamline your process:

1. Define Your Company Culture and Core Values

As a startup, it’s crucial to have a defined company culture and core values. This will help you attract the right employees and build a strong team. Hiring the wrong person can disrupt your company culture, so it’s essential to take the time to define what you’re looking for.

Here are some tips to help you with smooth startup hiring:

  • Define your company’s mission and vision. What are your goals? What do you want to achieve?
  • Define your company’s values. These are the principles that guide your operations.
  • Define your company culture. What is the workplace atmosphere like? Do you value teamwork or individual achievement? Casual or more formal communications?
  • Communicate your company culture and values to potential employees. When hiring, ensure candidates understand your company’s culture and values. Ask questions about their previous work experiences and what they would bring to your team.
  • Evaluate candidates based on their fit with your company’s culture and values. When making hiring decisions, consider whether or not the prospective hires would be a good fit for your company’s culture and values. Ask yourself if they would contribute to a positive work environment and uphold your company’s values.
  • The onboarding process is just as critical as the hiring process. Once you’ve found the right candidates, be intentional with onboarding so they can hit the ground running.

2. Learn How To Attract Talented People and Qualified Candidates

If you’re in the early stages of startup growth, you’ll want to focus on attracting top talent. This means finding talented people who are not only qualified for the job but also have the potential to grow with your company.

To attract talented people, you need to create a strong employer brand. Have a clear vision and mission for your company. Your employer brand should be evident in everything from your website and job postings to how you interact with candidates during the hiring process.

Once you’ve established your employer brand, start promoting it through social media and other channels. Make sure potential candidates know what makes your company unique and why they should consider working for you. The application process should be simple and easy to follow.

You’ll want to build a strong candidate pipeline as you attract more talent. Keep track of qualified candidates even if they don’t apply for a specific job immediately. Creating a candidate pipeline will help ensure you have a pool of talented people to draw from when it’s time to expand your team.

3. Allow Ample Time for the Recruiting Process

Hiring for a startup can be time-consuming, so it’s important to give yourself ample time. Start the process early and be prepared for delays.

Trying to do everything yourself when you’re first starting can be tempting. But as your business grows, you’ll need to delegate more of the work. One of the most important things you can delegate is the recruiting process.

Grow Your Startup With Peace of Mind

Do you need help with your startup hiring processes? Contact airCFO today to learn more about how our airCFO People Operations Professionals can level up your startup’s hiring, onboarding, and employee management operations.