Five ways to identify the right roles and talent for your startup

hr-for-startups-seriesBy Laura Doehle
#2 in a series

As I discussed in the first post in our HR for Startups series, in the past Human Resources (HR) was the place where people went to pick up their paycheck. But now that companies are competing for talent like never before, they need a strategic approach to HR which helps attract, recruit and retain engaged employees.

If you’re someone in charge of hiring talent in a startup, the task of competing for job candidates may sound daunting. People talk a lot about finding the right talent—but what if you don’t have a clue about who the right person to hire might be? Based on my experience in the recruiting, staffing, and HR industry, I’m here to help.

As you begin searching for talent to build your startup team, begin with these five parameters:

  1. Draw the box first. First envision the organization you want to build and what you want to accomplish. Map out what you need to have accomplished in the foreseeable future. Gaining clarity about what is needed to achieve your goal will allow you to better focus on finding the right people with the right experience.
  2. Identify a list of responsibilities. Once you have drawn the box, you need to determine what that position will do. What will the responsibilities for that role include? When you begin recruiting and interviewing for that role, it makes it easier to screen candidates based on the exact responsibilities the successful candidate will need to take on.
  3. Look at what you need to have, and what would be nice to have. It’s important to identify everything that might be required of someone you hire to fill a position. But it’s not likely you’ll find someone who possesses every single skill, ability, or qualification on your dream list. That’s why once you’ve identified a list of responsibilities you need to prioritize. What skills are non-negotiable and required? And which skills would be nice to have but not absolutely necessary?  This clarification will help you assess and filter candidates during the recruitment process.
  4. Don’t hire yourself. I get it; it’s natural to feel at ease with people who have similar personalities, interests, and abilities. But the “mini me” version of you is probably not the person you need to build a strong team. Plan for roles that will add balance and complement the roles which are already in place in your organization.
  5. Get clear about what you can build vs. what you need to buy.  There are some aspects of a job for which you can provide training. In that case, you have the option of building talent. You hire someone knowing that additional training will be required to bring them up to speed. In other cases, you’ll have to hire new team members who bring a specific skill or competency. In those situations, you’ll need to “buy” for that specific skill. Knowing which skills you can train and which skills you don’t already have in-house will help you efficiently screen the candidates who apply.

With these parameters in mind, hopefully the idea of identifying the right roles and talent for your organization doesn’t feel as daunting. Once you’ve determined the roles you need to fill, you’re ready to start recruiting for talent—that’s what I’ll cover in my next post in our HR for Startups series.

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Every day, I focus on helping businesses find the HR or recruiting solution that will allow their businesses to succeed, employees to grow, and ultimately communities to flourish.