By | Tony Tran | www.entrepreneur.com
The most challenging part of growing my company has been, without question, hiring talent, and in today’s market, the demand for high-caliber staff members is disproportionate to the supply. And while it’s fabulous that so many great companies are experiencing record growth, this competition for employees shows few signs of abating — and is likely to get worse, in fact. Companies can no longer get away with dangling a solid salary and benefits package in front of potential employees; they must also, among other incentives, provide them with the means of making a meaningful impact — to help them understand why their work matters.
For startups in particular, this process can be even trickier, as they typically don’t have the resources to shower potential hires with cash and perks. In addition, these early employees are often asked to take on a variety of responsibilities, regardless of their original job description or title.
When you find the right hire, it can be like striking gold for your team and your company. Like many founders, I’ve made some missteps in how I’ve approached this, but the takeaways have been invaluable.
1. Hiring must be a priority from day one
Gathering a staff is hard work, for all parties involved, but the process can be especially frustrating and discouraging for founders because it takes valuable time away from other company-building efforts. But if you and your team don’t prioritize recruiting strong talent from the beginning, the consequences can be dire, especially as a business grows.
Many startups fall into the trap of hiring only when it becomes too painful not to, but in my experience, if you’re feeling the pain, you’ve already waited too long. In the early days of building Lumanu — a software company based in Oakland, California that specializes in tools for invoices, payments and collaborations — hiring was so challenging that I made the decision to focus first on developing products. In hindsight, I should have prioritized sharing my mission and vision to more prospective employees. Hiring great talent takes time, and it’s never too early to build relationships with people who may eventually join your company. An added benefit to that effort is that there’s no better practice for telling a business’s narrative than pitching it to candidates dozens of times a week.