Start-up companies are no different than mature companies – their success is contingent on finding good talent. When a start-up company is ready to hire, they usually need the new resources on an ASAP basis, but it is critical that they do not compromise on the quality of talent they hire, as the adverse effects of a “bad hire” are amplified in a small business.

Ask any recruiter and they’ll tell you they have a love/hate relationship with employers that call them saying they need help hiring for a position that should have been filled “as of yesterday.”  Of course it’s exciting for a recruiter to go into their back pocket and pull out that perfect candidate. However, recruiters know that depending on the hiring need, immediate results aren’t always possible. They know that the best candidates aren’t always on the market when you need them, so some good, solid planning can go a long way in a successful search.

Prepare a long-term recruitment strategy and be mindful and creative of potential hiring needs down the road. 

Have you been in a rush and forced to make decisions based on necessity when hiring? This is very common. Successful companies know that their greatest employees are what make their company great.

A friend of mine shared a story with me the other day. He walked into a Starbucks and observed four of their staff at work. The first one was taking orders at a satisfactory pace, yelling out, “Double vanilla latte, hold the foam;” another walking around aimlessly and almost confused restocking shelves while paying customers swarmed in; the third just standing in the back washing dishes occasionally at a slow crawl. Then there’s the one that stood out all along, the superstar making four drinks at the same time while cleaning up after herself and making conversation with customers by name. He thought, “Without her, the company would collapse!”

He could tell by observing her in action that she’s dedicated, hardworking, shines under pressure, and will be a favourite amongst customers – really the reason you go to a Starbucks and pay ten dollars for a coffee. It’s these scenarios you’ve got to think about during your recruitment strategy planning. Think about how the staff you spend your time and money hiring will fit within your culture really, really well.

Know that any growing business on the verge of stardom is going to need those key players on their team, to build on that success the initial team has already worked so hard to create. If you’re on your own right now and hiring, that first team member is all the more critical.

Do the following:


You’ve got a business plan and have set important goals. Now set a recruitment strategy. Get thinking about what roles you will need to fill to get that work done now and a year from now.

Be methodical

Let’s say you need an Account Manager to handle the business you’ve worked so hard to bring in. What attributes will they need? Is being organized more important than customer service skills or industry knowledge?

Be realistic

When you start the hiring process, you’ll find its often going to be hard to find someone that checks off all your “must-haves.” Set your sights on a few must-haves, aim for a few more “nice-to-haves,” and finish up your list with skills that would be a “homerun” but not critical.


Recruiting requires more than one set of eyes and takes a lot of skill to fully plan, execute and hire.

Now that you’ve got a plan, you’re ready to start hiring!

By Adam Gellert, Linkus Group, Toronto, ON, CYBF young entrepreneur

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