Talent Acquisition

You Can’t do All of the Work All of the Time: Building a Team of Peers

Diverse startup team

When you first start out and found a company it goes without saying that, due to limited budget, you try your hand at every role within the organization and will find yourself stretched in every direction.

As one of Huddle’s co-founders, I know only too well how you initially have to juggle successfully managing you organization, developing your product or service, marketing it and then ultimately selling it.

At the time, you believe you’re doing a fantastic job in all of these roles. However, as your organization grows, you’ll soon realize that you just can’t do everything forever. If you want to have a company that’s going to be around for a long time, rather than be just another flash in the pan, you need to hire fantastic people and surround yourself with a team of peers.

Building a great team is really hard work and you rarely get a chance to pick a team from scratch so you have to make it count. Here are my top tips for building your ideal workforce:

Don’t be Afraid to Say No

When recruiting people, meeting the perfect candidate is like falling in love. You’ve got to be able to imagine yourself spending all day, every day with that person.

If you can’t see yourself working long hours with them or going for lunch and dinner with them, just say no. You’re better off waiting for ‘the one’ than hiring someone that you might have to say goodbye to three months later.

Hire People that are Better than You

You should always hire people better than yourself – you want to build a team of experts in their field – be it sales, development, product or marketing. When you hire great people, they will also attract other great people to your company.

Build a team of peers

Make sure that everyone is involved in hiring to foster a sense of family and buy-in. For example, when hiring for our development team at Huddle, we run a three stage process.

Firstly, the candidate goes through a 20 minute telephone screen. The next stage is an hour long paired technical test and finally a general 30 minute interview with members of the team. Following this interview, everyone that has met the candidate has to agree that they are suitable for the role.

Would You Want to Work in Your Office?

This is a question you should continually ask yourself. In order to attract the best people, you need to create a place that they really would like to work in – so start by making it a place that you would really like to work in.

That Means Great People and Great Surroundings

It’s a win-win situation. Your staff will be happy, motivated and want to put in the hard work and hours necessary to get a job done properly. Think about investing in a good coffee machine and an office Wii, starting a table football league and creating a beanbag area where staff can socialize.

Small things can make a big difference so try to eat together regularly and organize outings, which include employees’ partners. You want your team to bond and feel like a family.

Spread your Net Wide

The trouble with trying to find that amazing person for the job is you just don’t know where they’re hiding. Talk to all your friends and all your family as recommendations are invaluable.

Put job details out on Twitter and Facebook and use TechCrunch jobs, LinkedIn, Monster and other job boards. Industry events are also great places to meet potential candidates so get networking!

Be open

Make sure that everyone feels they are working towards the same goals. Publish your company’s targets and roadmaps, hold regular company-wide meetings so that everyone has visibility of what different teams are working on and, if your company is selling a product, make sure all staff are involved in testing it and giving feedback.

Dealing with Recruitment Agencies

To ensure that recruitment agencies don’t walk all over you, create a preferred suppliers list (PSL) with a maximum of five agencies and set a fixed rate (around 15 per cent). You should also be explicit with your needs and demand the three best CVs that they have.

Yes, building a fantastic team is hard work, but when you find the right people to join your company it will all be worth it.

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