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The hiring process is a time and labour intensive process, but the pressure increases exponentially if it involves finding the first employee to join your start-up. This comes as little surprise, considering the success of a start-up is directly proportional to the amount of work and energy that its employees put in.  

This means you’re not just searching for a reliable hire, you’re searching for someone who’s a close to perfect fit. If you’re wondering how to find that miracle candidate while you have the budget of a start-up, here are some tips for when you begin your search:

1. Ensure you’ve planned appropriately 

This seems like a simple enough tip, but a surprising amount of start-ups run into trouble right at the beginning of their hiring process simply because they’re not prepared for what’s about to come. Not only do you need to know exactly what you’re looking for in a candidate, you also need to ensure you’re covering all your bases when it comes to asking them interview questions.  

For instance, if you’re hiring for a sales position, you might find a candidate with a track record that seems attractive. Hiring them only to discover they’re only looking for a short-term position can end up a massive waste of time and energy. Factors such as how long they want to work, how much flexibility they might require, and what they’re looking to get out of the experience may all influence your decision when hiring.  

2. Look for candidates who make a good culture fit 

No matter how stellar their track record, a candidate with a different approach towards working than the core members of your start-up may not be the best first-hire. Reflecting on a candidate’s potential to perform is equally important, especially since you’ll want your first employee to be as enthused and passionate about developing the business as you do.  

A great way to assess a candidate’s potential is by getting a true sense of how they’d work for you – asking them to demonstrate their knowledge by asking them to perform a task will help you get a much better sense of what they’ll be like within their role.  

Chances are a candidate who has yet to gain a lot of concrete experience will be willing to put in the hours to develop your start-up more than someone who may already have the industry-experience and is looking for a different kind of work environment.   

3. Ensure you’ve sorted out administrative tasks 

With every new hire comes a boatload of administrative tasks that may be tempting to waive given how small your business is eventually going to be. Ensuring your organisation has an established practice for routine tasks like employee contracts and onboarding can actually save you a lot of time and effort in the future for when you eventually have to start hiring more widely.  

Doing these things early on when they feel unnecessary also allow you to test-run and then improve these processes based on feedback.  Employee contracts may seem tempting to dismiss, but they actually protect both you and your new hire in case things don’t go as planned, so it’s definitely worth taking a little extra time to manage properly.  



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