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Hiring well is hard  

Paul O'Connell documents his startup's hiring journey, first figuring out why anyone could possibly want to work with them, and then going through many phases:

  1. Talking to their network
  2. Talking to groups, communities and meetups
  3. Talking with students
  4. Talking to recruitment agencies
  5. Looking at offshore options
  6. Pushing the recruitment drive online

They finally arrive at the apparently disappointing conclusion:

There aren't really alot of conclusions to be made from such a fluid process like this apart from Europe has a shortage of talent. Finding more innovative ways of attracting the hot resources that are developers and making the company somewhere you love to work at is definitely a must, this is a startup, so culture is everything!

While we haven't found the right ‘first employee' fit yet we do recognise that as long as we continue the drive for another member of our team, it will happen when it needs to happen. Things happen not when you want them but when you need them. So our journey continues. Wish us luck.

But I think that's much better than settling for 'ok'. "Ok" is a terrible idea when it comes to your first few hires.


One thought from my own experience: what will motivate someone to work with you on your early startup is typically your vision and drive made tangible. If you don't have a concrete plan that sounds like what they want to do, they probably won't be motivated. "Come join us, we have no idea what we're doing!" is not a convincing pitch. Would you work for a company that doesn't really have a clear direction or business?

One is reminded of the parable of the three stone-cutters:

A traveller in the middle ages happened upon a building site. Curious, he asked one stonecutter what he was doing.

The man replied curtly, "I am cutting a stone," and went on cutting his stone.

The traveller approached a second stonecutter and asked the same question.

"See there, this line? I am building a wall there," the second one replied.

Finally, the traveller asked a third stonecutter. The third man stopped what he was doing, and looked at the traveller with tears in his eyes, and said: "I am building a cathedral!"

If you don't have a clear vision and plans for a cathedral, you may struggle to attract any great startup employees (though it might still happen by luck).

More from the library:
Four misconceptions about Lean startup
All content is marketing
So you want to join a startup