If you are hiring for your startup, you need to understand one thing: This is arguably one of the worst times to be looking for talent.
While inflation continues to rise and the Fed raises interest rates, consumer confidence remains unchanged and unemployment is at historic lows. The financial outlook for companies and markets is bad, but companies are still at the mercy of their employees, who seem to have an endless choice of jobs. Big Tech may have released about 10% of the talent back into the market, but these were generally not core employees.
So how can early-stage founders compete with larger, better-funded companies in this war for talent?
View talent through a product market fit lens
Whenever possible, it’s much better to slowly integrate a great candidate as a consultant or part-time contractor and let things work out.
Most startups simply don’t have the wherewithal to compete based on capital, especially when it comes to talent.
Your first employees (your first 20-25 people) join you because they are looking for something that bigger companies with money can’t offer them. Your job is to find out what it is and make it accessible.
Approaching early-stage recruiting through a product-market fit lens is a great way to do this. Think of your candidates as your customers and get to know them personally, understand their careers and learn what their gaps are. Their cuts are your problems and the role you have to offer is your product. The two must match – otherwise it is not a good hire. Once you realize this, explain how they can get what they want by working with you and why they can’t get it from other companies.