Sep 02 2017

Hiring for your start-up: what should you look for?

Scaling a start-up can be challenging. Budgets may be tight, roles are still being defined and systems put into place. Your first hires are vital to your company’s growth and success, and will become defining players in creating the culture. You need the best people, no pressure right?

Here’s a few qualities to look for in your A Team


This is especially important when hiring your techies. They’ll be communicating their advanced expertise in their preferred development language, which is fantastic, but they should also show a willingness to experiment with other languages and tools. A polyglot you might say! Look for clues that signal you’re hiring someone who’s at the top of their game. They know their way around the full-stack, top to bottom.

Multiple hats

It’s all hands on deck in a start-up. While each person brought in has a primary focus, you’ll want to make sure they’re prepared to help out in other areas while the nuts and bolts are being fitted. Be it sales and marketing, human resources, growth hacking, reception, data analysis or keeping the refreshments replenished – expertise and adaptability must combine to embed ‘one team, one dream’ into the culture.


It sounds obvious that you need ‘ideas people’, but great ideas and foresight that aren’t communicated serve no one. There’s no time for silent partners waiting for direction. You need people with an eye for immediately seeing what’s working and what can be done better, and importantly, a strong ability to articulate and share their ideas. A-players will have envisaged your potential pain points and opportunities to be tapped. If they share these with you throughout your recruitment process, you’re onto a winner!


Intrepreneur is a term coming into popular use to describe someone who is an entrepreneur by nature, but works inside an organisation. They may even have a side project they’re working on in their own time. This is a good thing! These personalities have grit, vision and agility. They’re experimental and self-starters, and are comfortable with ambiguity and constant change.

A good egg

Chances are you’ll be a small, tight-knit team spending lots of time together – possibly even in a small space. The technical genius and subject matter experts need to be people who can break tense moments with some high jinks or throw down the next ping-pong challenge!

It’s worth asking yourself this:

  • can you picture having frank, robust conversations with them?
  • do you think they’re up to giving honest feedback in return?

You want to enjoy everyone’s company, and build respect and trust along the way. After all, we all know working in a start-up is not 9-5 Monday to Friday!

Look for these attributes and you’ll be on track for building a strong, committed and talented team.

Article Written by Jade Bennett, who is the Founder & Director of Middleton executive

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