Mustering the confidence to launch a startup is hard work. Finding the right people to join that startup is even harder, but it’s well worth your time and effort.

According to recent data, the average recruitment cost for small to mid-sized companies was $7,645 per new hire. Moreover, new employees need 8-26 weeks to get up-to-speed, and the lost productivity associated with these ramp-up periods costs companies up to 2.5 percent of their total revenue. As a startup founder who doesn’t have infinite resources for recruitment and training programs, you can still save yourself a lot of grief (and money) by taking charge of the hiring process yourself.

If you’re serious about being a successful CEO, you have to be a professional recruiter as well – and that starts with the first five hires for your tech startup. That initial group will set the tone for your company in its nascent stage, so it’s essential that you assemble the best team possible.


While not technically a “hire,” you are the key first ingredient in the staffing formula. It’s your job to be in selling mode, 100% of the time. You should be talking about your company at every opportunity and using breakfast, lunch and dinner for meetings and networking.

In addition to recruiting a team and raising money for your startup (if you need capital to build or grow the business), your main responsibility is talking to clients to make sure you’re building a product they actually want – and one that they’ll actually pay for. And once you know what clients will pay for, your next step is to translate this information into hires 2 and 3.

Front-End Engineer

When you’re at a startup that’s strapped for resources, wearing many hats comes with the territory. However, if your collection of hats doesn’t include coding, I’d recommend looking for somebody who has both coding and product chops as your second hire. HTML and CSS should be considered requirements, but it’s even better if they have UX experience or design skills.

Back-End Engineer

It might surprise you to hear that I’m not a huge proponent of finding a “full-stack” engineer – that is, someone who says they can do both front-end and back-end programming.

Instead, I much prefer to have two engineers on the team who are each specialists in their own disciplines: a front-end engineer who focuses on how the company’s site looks, and a back-end engineer who focuses on how it works.

The back-end engineer will also be responsible for setting up your systems – from establishing your hosting, to picking the programming languages you will use, to designing the first version of the website. Even if you personally aren’t tech savvy, you need to seriously consider all of these factors because they will dictate when you’ll be able to launch your company or product. The time to switch coding languages is before you hire a back-end engineer – not when they’re six months into a project.

Integrated Marketing Manager

This person lives, eats and breathes messaging and content marketing. They can draft emails, write copy for the website, interact with and conduct focus groups with clients, manage social media profiles, reach out to tech reporters and maintain consistency across every piece of marketing collateral.

They also have a keen eye for design and can work with an outsourced designer to set the tone, brand and feel for the company. A traditional branding campaign will set you back at least $5,500. But if you don’t have that kind of budget, finding a savvy content marketer with a strong visual sense becomes even more important.

A capable marketing and content expert won’t up and quit when you ask them to print things, mail things, pick up things or deal with the day’s latest disaster. You’re essentially looking for an all-around team player who can serve as a de facto office manager on top of their marketing and branding duties.

The Wild Card

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all hiring blueprint. As such, your final hire will depend on what type of company you run, how far along you are and what missing puzzle piece you need to get your startup off the ground.

If you need help building your product from scratch, you might consider a full-time product manager who can also help tackle corporate operations – remember, everybody wears multiple hats in a startup.

Author: Jilliene Helman
Source: The First 5 People To Hire For Your Tech Startup – Forbes


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