Three strategies to hiring the A-team your startup deserves

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      With VCs keen to work with the best team possible, how do you make sure your talent will attract investors?

      There is an old saying among VCs that says it’s better to work with an A-team with a B-idea than a B-team with an A-idea. What are the benefits of prioritising the team?

      • Investors need to trust the businesses they work with
      • An experienced team will recognise danger signs early
      • A good team will work together well to resolve issues

      Putting together a great team could make a big difference when it comes to securing funding. What should you consider when assembling your own A-team to begin with? Here are Swoop’s three strategies for making sure you have the right people around you.

      STRATEGY #1: Think of your weak spots

      Your startup will not have the experience or expertise in every field. Be humble, consider which weak spots your startup has and hire to fill those gaps.

      Some founders may be intimidated by others that have expertise where they are least knowledgeable. Understandably, it can also be very tough to hand over control of your business to others whom they might not know and trust. Consider the knowledge you already have and how long you have spent to acquire this. It is important to be self-aware, think of the value these hires would mean for your startup, rather than shifting your focus to learn the ropes.

      New hires are important and require extra attention and care. Spend some time on building a close working relationship. Trust should go both ways.

      Having someone who fills the gaps in your own skill set will help you out significantly. Sara Blakely, the founder of the billion-dollar company Spanx did exactly this. She influenced Richard Branson’s three hiring rules after she told him, “The smartest thing I ever did in the early going was to hire my weaknesses”.

      STRATEGY #2: Don’t rush the hiring process

      It is important to be strategic with your interview process in startup hiring to ensure a great fit. If you would like to succeed, the A-team is essential. Whether an A-player has hard-won skills or a natural talent, you must consider whether they have the determination required to prosper at an early-stage startup.

      Try to find an approach to interviewing candidates based on your culture, check previous references, ask behavioural questions and see how these potential candidates might interact with your current employees. Running an early-stage startup is like building the foundations to a house: it pays to do it properly to avoid big problems later and it can be very harmful to hire a bad cultural fit.

      Is the new hire genuinely going to love the job? Candidates that are motivated to go after the company’s goals and think that the specific role is meeting their own ambitions will be doing the job because of their own reasons, not just yours. Passionate people will automatically thrive and take pride in what they do.

      Ultimately, there needs to be an authentic synergy not only between you and the new hire, but the company as a whole. A strong team is essential to retain employee satisfaction and engagement which is key for your startup’s growth.

      STRATEGY #3: Network

      Take a look at your recruiting strategy and pipeline. Dive deep into your referral sources. Many founders refer to other founders, and the same goes for other key hires.
      Think about it for a moment. Your friends, colleagues and family probably know a lot more about your vision than a recruitment firm or agency. They will understand the core of what you are trying to achieve, and they will likely be happy to refer candidates who will be a great fit.

      Who do talented people often hang out with? Use it to your advantage. Incentivise your existing employees to refer candidates they trust and know, by having a referral program that will compensate their efforts. It can be a powerful strategy for attracting top talent to your organisation.

      Final thoughts

      Consider which weak spots your startup has and hire to fill those gaps. It can be hard to give this responsibility to some you don’t know, so remember to spend time building a genuine relationship with them.

      Take your time building a great team with people you respect and trust.

      Think about how you will recruit your new hires and don’t underestimate the power of referrals.

      Ultimately, your employees will be your greatest assets – particularly when you are able to explain to an investor exactly why each person is in their job, what they bring to the business, the care you took in bringing them in and how they are crucial to your future success.

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