How Hiring Differs After the Startup Phase

Joseph Stubblebine
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During a company's startup phase, hiring is often fairly simple. Two friends join together to start a business, often bringing on a third or fourth co-worker to fill out the team. During this early phase, the startup barely has a human resources department to speak of. However, once the company moves past the startup phase and begins to expand, hiring becomes a much more important issue.

During the initial startup phase, companies rarely post job listings online. Often, they don't even think about job requirements at all. The people who join the team during the startup phase sign on because they are willing to do many different types of work, from product development to promotion, to get the company off the ground.

Once the company begins to expand, however, it has to think seriously about job requirements, job roles and company hierarchies. It has to consider reporting structures and salary levels. In short, it has to stop thinking like a startup and start thinking like a fully-established business.

Often, the first step is to hire a human resources director or add human resources to one of the current staff's responsibilities. With no pre-set job descriptions or job requirements in place, the HR director must work closely with the startup founders to decide what types of job roles they need filled, as well as how those job roles fit into the emerging company organizational chart. The HR director must then write the job role's specific responsibilities into a job posting.

Once the first job ads are posted, the person responsible for human resources must also craft interviews to ensure that the chosen candidate is passionate about the startup and is a good fit for the startup's culture. As notes, the first people your company hires are often the most important hiring decisions you ever make. These are the people who take your company to the next level.

Even if you have a human resources director on board, involve everyone in your startup in the interview and hiring process. Let the HR director sort through the resumes and do the first screening interviews, but make your final hiring decisions as a group. These new hires are so crucial that it is wise to consider a "unanimous vote" policy: the only people hired are the people who receive a unanimous vote by every member of your current staff.

At some point, your startup becomes too large to involve every employee in the hiring process. However, that type of hiring change happens a few years down the line, not during your immediate post-startup phase. After all, you got your startup this far with passion, vision and a strong work ethic. Your new employees need to be ready to make the company go faster, not slow things down.

Hiring after the startup phase is crucial to the success of your business. Create a human resources department and begin developing your job roles and company hierarchy. Then work as a team to hire the best possible employees, the ones who are ready to help your company grow.


(Photo courtesy of basketman /


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