When your company’s just starting out, it’s just you and your core team: a small band of hustlers looking to change the world and make some cash doing it. Maybe you’re renting an old leaky office space behind a warehouse, or maybe you’re working from your parents’ basement – or maybe you’re all remote, using the power of cloud computing to get your hustle started. 

Once you move past that stage, though, and start hiring on more team members, it can be easy to lose that small startup feeling. So, how can you build (and retain) your strong team even as your company continues to grow?

We’re here to show you. 

Step 1: Assess your needs

If you feel pressured to grow but you’re not sure where you need the most help, stop and think before acting. Find those pressure areas in your organization where an extra hand could definitely pay off. Take a few weeks to audit your workload and find the areas where a new hire will have the most significant, and most profitable, impact. 

Step 2: Review the budget

Once you know your needs – maybe it’s a new graphic designer, or a serious coder – it’s time to think about what your hiring budget is. See where money might be pulled from, like your small business loans, or your connections with VC’s. Depending on what you can offer a potential new hire, you may have to consider your hiring options. 

Step 3: Consider hiring options

If you have the cash to bring on a full-time employee, awesome. But many companies don’t have that kind of funding on-hand when they’re first trying to grow. If that sounds like your company, don’t worry. There are options.

Consider hiring a freelancer, bringing on a part-time employee, or even offering an internship (at a more reasonable rate of pay) to a bright college student. Then, as your profits start to bulk up, start think about bringing them on full time. 

Step 4: Define your process

When you do bring on a new employee, it’s critical that you define the hiring process ahead of time. Too many small companies buckle under the pressure of a weak hiring process. Decide on the timeline – for example, resume phase, first round of interviews, second round, online background check, then onboarding. 

Having a defined process means everyone gets a fair and equal shot at the job, and also means you’ll have plenty of time to work through vetting all the applicants to find that stellar candidate.  

Step 5: Network

Once your process is defined, it’s time to think about who you want to hire. The best place to start is your professional network. The people who you know might know someone that’s looking for a job, and has just the skillset you’re after. 

Networking is even easier these days thanks to online networking options, so be sure that you scour your contacts before opening up your application to a wider pool of candidates. 

Step 6: Start accepting resumes

Once you’ve found a solid pool of applicants – or if you’ve decided to open up the application on public jobs boards – it’s time to start sifting through resumes. Luckily, you’re not on your own for this. Algorithmic resume vetting software saves you time and money when looking through the first crop of applications.

You can use your previously defined process to identify exactly who has the best background to make the cut for the next stage.

Step 7: Start on interviews

Interviews should be an engaging and informative experience. Unfortunately, they often are not. Get personal with your applicant, ask about their ambitions and how working at your company will put them closer to their goals. And be sure to get as many voices as possible in the room – you want to be sure the whole team agrees with the new hire.

Step 8: Narrow the field

Once you have your final round of potential hires, start narrowing down the field by selecting the candidates that you think will best do the job. This part is hard, but it’s necessary to build and retain a strong team. 

Step 9: Pick your rock star hire

That’s it – once you’ve been through the interview process, narrowed down finalists, and are left with just a couple of awesome options, pick the one that your gut tells you will bring you the value your company needs. Congrats on the new hire!

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