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To join a startup is to join a fast-growing environment. Reid Hoffman described a startup founder as “Someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.” In the process, financial and technical needs get a lot of attention, but do people?
by: Grégory Herbé (A-Player)
photo: Anna Katina
Cash can’t buy a long-term talent strategy

Business plans generally dive into the details of operational costs and revenues, only briefly discussing people.

Startups know what stacks they will use, which bank, even the brand of their office desk for crying out loud, but they don’t know the name of a top recruit.

While a cool atmosphere, remote working, and staff happiness are must-haves in a company (not only in startups), most startups don’t have a clue who is going to make its culture a reality.

Then, as soon as the company starts raising money, the first question it asks is “Do you know someone who can join us for this role?” and immediately thereafter, “But are we sure he is the best available at the moment?”

Yep, hiccup. Hiring fast is hiring the best available people within a limited time, and thus, statistically, not the best ones for your business (and your business needs the best).

Good hiring is meeting with irrelevant candidates … at any given moment.

Though you can’t hire the best people in the early stage, you can reach greater efficiency by anticipating the bottleneck of talent acquisition.

“Talent is like water in a glove—it gives energy to form.”

I would remove this and just stay “Good candidates come from a high-level confidence zone, which can be detected by a long-term relationship.

The startup CEO/Cofounder needs to surround him/herself with all types of profiles while fundraising is still underway. It is the best moment to learn about the soft skills required by the different job positions and to benchmark the market freely.

When you’re hunted, you hide

Meeting talent without ulterior motives is the best way to create your “unofficial” talent pipeline. As soon as you initiate a chat, short meeting for coffee or phone, you let the person create his/her own job position. If you want to hire, there’s always some tension.

Filling roles, not positions

Our startups and innovative companies are very creative in creating job names. A job name communicates “position to fill with an exhaustive list of missions.” But are we defined by the list of mission we have? Perhaps the best profiles are in between 2 different roles.

Yes, talent is like water in a glove—it gives energy to form.

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