Sourcing Talent for Innovative Start-ups

Hiring talent for your growing company can be stressful. It’s costly, time consuming, and hiring the wrong people can kill a small company. There’s a balance you need to find, as you’ll be spending a lot of time with these people, but you can’t be blinded by your interpersonal connections. 

Needs for each start-up will vary drastically, and even month-to-month within the same start-up. While you can’t prepare for everything, you can do some work to ensure you’re making the best decisions for your growing company.

Preparing for the Hire

Salaries will be one of your more expensive business costs at the beginning of growing your Start-up. By having a clear onboarding plan, company literature, and learning prepared, you ensure that your new hire is ready to tackle their job.

Identifying Key Tasks of the Role

To save time and frustration, you can plan out the work for your new hire just like you plan your marketing schedule or company roadmap. Have your questions ready to go and know your budget before posting your job application so you don’t waste time sorting through unimpressive resumes. 

Identify if you need an assistant (low skill, high performance, is willing to learn) or an expert (high skill, unknown performance, needs to be coachable). Many successful founders say that they always tried to make sure they were hiring people smarter than them, so you may also need a standardized way to test the skills you are hiring for.

How To Structure Work in Your Start-Up

Start-ups can be structured a few different ways. The two most common are flat and hierarchical. Chances are, when your’e first starting you’ll be so small that the team will be flat. When you’re hiring more than one person per department, you’ll want to let everyone know who reports to who to avoid conflicts. You should have a little intuition on which structure will work best for your business. 

Remember that you don’t have to complicate things. Most small businesses only need a simple structure and, chances are, they will retain said structure for the foreseeable future. So, make your organization chart, anticipate the evolution of roles, and be sure to adapt to growth.

Parag Datta is one of our esteemed mentors here at TBDC, and he has over a decade of experience in Clean Energy & Infrastructure. Here is some of his advice for hiring as an early stage start-up; 

Recruiting talent for small businesses is different. You need someone who can handle the administrative roles, even when less people are checking in on you. You need someone who can make decisions and own them. 

best practices for start-up hiring
info via Best Lawyers

Really, you need talent with the ability to think outside the box. You’re almost creating the market and the demand so you need to be able to find that. It’s critical to find talent that is highly skilled in technicalities but has the business acumen to solve real world problems. 

A good start-up employee has to be very bold and embrace a lot of change, someone who’s okay with a little instability. As your’e recruiting talent, especially leadership, you need to be able to embrace and influence change. For a small innovative company you need to be able to look at things and make quick strategic decisions.

Identifying Key Soft Skills of the Rolls

Many companies in established industries have the luxury of sourcing talent from educational streams that train people for a specific industry. But what do you do when your industry is new, or you’re the first to marry a few industries? 

Ibentos is an innovative Start-up that started participating in the TBDC Start-up Visa program in January 2022. Founded in 2020 as an Event Technology company, they have had a few key moments when they adapted technology to stay ahead of the curve. Currently, they provide one of the most comprehensive digital platform for virtual and hybrid events and this is their advice for hiring new talent.

Harpreet Singh, CEO & Co-Founder – There are no books available, the perfect talent won’t be out there. You need to train them, guide them, and build them. The internal training and the personalities need to mesh to create a great team. Generally, you won’t find everyone who is perfect, there is a lot of training and leadership work required when you begin hiring. 

Jaspinder Bhatia, COO & Co-Founder – Retaining the talent can be an issue when you’ve invested so much. You have to keep open communication and motivate your talent every day. We dream together, and we succeed together.

stats for working remote - culture in start-ups

Preparing for the Interview

Currently, the job market is hot, and talent is expecting more out of their workplace. In Canada, Common workplace culture includes; 

Remote work – 81% of employers and 78% of employees think they have all the tools necessary to effectively work remotely, and 15% of Canadian employees prefer a remote work model. On top of that, 41% of employees believe their productivity has increased since pre-pandemic through remote work. (source) On top of that, 61% of employees think that their corporate culture has changed since going remote, and 56% believe it’s changed for the better. 

Employee Morale – 62% of Canadian employers say that their biggest work challenge since the start of the pandemic was managing their employee morale. 

Mental Health – 46% of Canadian employees claim mental health issues have been their biggest concern since the start of the pandemic. How are employers adjusting to these new attitudes? By being more flexible, doing more 1-on-1 check-ins, focusing on improving workflow processes, and being more open with their employees about the challenges they are facing.

In Conclusion

Hiring is a necessary step in growing any business. By preparing, you can ensure that you have a smooth hiring process, and you’re finding a qualified candidate to suit your business needs. If it’s your first time managing others, ensure that you have the skills you need to be the best leader you can be. 

Have you come across any great hiring tips? Share them with us on LinkedIn!  

Want more personalized business advice?  Check out our business incubation streams to see if we’re the right fit for you. TBDC is Toronto’s first incubator, with a track record of helping 1000’s of start-ups launch and scale in North America.

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