Hiring for your Startup: How not to freak your new hires out

By Adam Robinson,
March 28, 2014

“I swear we’re a real company,” said Thrillist co-founder Ben Lerer on Devon Giddon’s first day when she realized they didn’t have a desk, phone or computer for her. Similar stories are heard around the country as more startups are hiring before the resources are even available.

In one Mashable article titled ‘I Bought My Own Desk Off Craigslist,‘ Kelsey Cox, hire #26 at Column Five, stated that “I was a bit wary when I first interviewed because the company then was based out of an attic and an apartment-turned-office.”

When you are in the most exciting phase of the startup life, the growth phase, and you are hiring like crazy, it’s best to remember some words of wisdom so you don’t freak your candidates or new hires out.

Give them a timeline

So you don’t have a computer for your new hire yet, which you think is completely normal. Unfortunately for your new employee, this is probably going to be quite shocking. How can they work without a computer?

The best thing you can do is reassure them that a computer is either A. On the way B. In the works or C. You have a BYOD policy.

If you want to gain your new hire’s trust, be honest and upfront. It also doesn’t hurt to promise them that they are working for a real company.

Make up for a lack of resources

There is a lot of “making do” in startups. Employees can be frequently found purchasing their own pens, scotch tape and Microsoft Office. However, startups can make up for a lack of employee resources by cultivating an innovative and inspiring culture.

Immediately assign a “buddy” for your new hire, so the new employee has someone to ask questions, go to lunch with, and share their snack stash with.

Also, provide coffee. If you expect your employees to work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, and you don’t provide coffee, you probably should be sued. Extra points for an espresso machine.

Build your culture

Hold monthly company events, buy a case of beer for Friday, install a ping pong table. These are just a few suggestions from startup founders that credit their culture for getting them from employee #1 to #300.

Sometimes the culture is all that your employees have when sales are down, the internet isn’t working, and they still don’t have their own desk.

Ah, the beauty of startups. Have a team full of millennials at your startup? Here’s how to hire more, manage them, and attempt to understand why they think the way they do.

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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