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As opposed to a small business or organization, a start-up by definition is a company or project that is intended to grow and develop beyond its founder(s).  

The beginning stages of start-ups are usually filled with uncertainty and large changes, so having the right team members to support the founder(s) in their endeavors is invaluable.  

Finding the perfect employees for a start-up can be as rare a feat as coming across a financial unicorn, let alone finding one that can lead to the start-up becoming one itself.  

So, whether you yourself are looking to found and launch your own start-up, or if you’re recruiting on behalf of a start-up, it’s crucial to consider the following before making any hiring decisions. 

After all, the wrong hire can be devastating to an organization, especially when it is just getting its feet (read: hooves) off the ground.  

Here are some of our best tips for finding your start-up stars. 

1. Ensure your candidates are start-up savvy

First and foremost, it’s crucial to discover and to make sure the candidates know what they’re signing up for. A candidate may not be suitable for the position if they prefer stability, predictable procedures, and an above-average salary.  

They may, however, be the perfect fit for a start-up if they are looking for 

· A faster-paced workplace 
· A smaller team size, which offers a more intimate team dynamic 
· A more casual or personable environment 
· Plentiful opportunities to learn new skills and collaborate with others 

As well, start-ups tend to offer workers creative liberties and other opportunities that an existing corporate environment would not, including dabbling in numerous duties that may be outside one’s official job position. While this could be overwhelming for some, for others, this can make the job feel fresh, engaging, and exciting.  

2. Hire for the future

While start-ups typically begin very small and tight knit, there tend to be large and swift changes in the organization, even in the first few steps of progress.  

This means if the business grows beyond who they originally hired in their first stages, the hiring process may recur more often than one would like to ensure all bases are covered. 

As such, like you would run to where a ball is going to land, rather than where it is mid-air, you’ll need to make sure you’re hiring for the future, or where the organization is planned to go potentially months or even years in advance.  

After all, a good team will propel a business forward, instead of support it where it is. 

In addition to making sure each candidate you hire is willing to evolve and adapt as the business inevitably does, a pro tip that Workable offers is to offer candidates a pre-hire assignment that measures both their ability to do tasks to the organization’s standard, and their willingness to invest time and energy into their application to this position and consequently, the organization.

3. Make your on-boarding process honest and transparent

While it may seem obvious to you—more than halfway through reading this article about the many ways start-ups differ from established, large corporations—it may not be as obvious to your candidates what a start-up does and how it functions.  

That’s why it is best practice to be honest with candidates and answer any questions they may have with all they will need to know about the organization to make sure they’re equipped to thrive in their potential organization.  

Make sure the candidate is well informed about what the company does, what direction the company is moving in, and what the job entails. 

 As well, it’s good practice to maintain transparency with each candidate to let them know how you feel about hiring them, and realistically when they might hear back from you regarding their candidacy.  

Not only does this ensure your candidate is 100% on board with the organization and its needs, it also allows the candidate to better understand how you’re approaching filling this position, and what they may need to bring to the table should they be chosen for the position.  

Getting back to candidates diligently and with good or useful feedback can also help set a good precedent for the organization—whether they’re chosen for the position or not, and this can be useful if you ever want to return to the candidate later down the road.  

4. Determine if your candidates have the right tools

Along with taking into consideration the candidate’s needs and wants in a job position, of course, you’ll want to look at the candidate’s credentials and skill set.

Our number one trick is to perform background checks before spending too much time investigating a candidate—this is both useful for you as a recruiter or hirer, and good for the candidate so as to not waste time giving them false hope if they aren’t qualified for the position.  

As well, these credential verifications can be supplemented with personality tests or psychometric assessments, such as Packfinder, which measures one’s natural inclinations in the workplace and in personality type to match them with positions that are best suited for them.  

Workwolf is now offering all users a free Packfinder assessment to better understand their suitability in different industries based on decades of data and research. 

Use Packfinder to get a better insight into your candidates’ strengths and personality types, or even benchmark top performing employees to find others that also fit your open positions.  

You can get your candidates to try it out for free by creating their own Workwolf public profile (yes, that’s free, too!) and taking the Packfinder assessment within just 30 minutes. Try it out today.  


A free account with Workwolf brings in more candidates, provides better matches & reduces the effort needed to make great hires