Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Startup Hiring: Recruiting Entrepreneurial Types

Startups. They’re the rising star in the private sector, but with all of their successes, it’s more difficult for them to find employees that contribute positively to the bottom line than well-established small businesses and large corporations. Working at a startup isn’t like working anywhere else. With that, they need employees who aren’t like any others.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Jason Freedman, co-founder of 42Floors, who said that “he wants employees who can work fast, come up with ideas without being told what to do and help reshape the company over time. What’s more, nonentrepreneurs often can’t handle the loose structure of a startup and have trouble working without guidance.”

Job candidates looking to launch their own startups have these qualifications, but how do you recruit these entrepreneurs in startup hiring when they don’t want to work for anyone but themselves?

Freedman tells The Wall Street Journal that you have to entice them. Working at a startup allows these new hires the opportunity to pitch their own ideas, flexibility to manage which projects take precedence over others and more importantly, work on their own startup on the side.

Startup hiring of entrepreneurs is almost like recruiting an apprentice. By working for a startup, they get insight into what their very own experience will look like in the months or years down the road. Jason Tan, CEO of Sift Science, told The Wall Street Journal that these entrepreneurs are basically getting paid very well just to learn. Granted, they’re also making a contribution too.

Additionally, they not only get to experience the ups of a startup launch but the downs too. They are able to learn from these mistakes rather than making them on their own. And for entrepreneurs in the startup business, that kind of experience and know-how is priceless.

As a recruiter or startup owner, you may be wondering how you retain these types of employees. Unfortunately, you don’t. These new hires will stick around through the end of a project or until they feel their own startup is ready to launch, which at times can be disheartening. But one of the reasons that startups excel so quickly is because of new ideas and innovation, and that’s in large part due to the volume of job candidates, new hires and experienced entrepreneurs that walk in and out of the doors of a startup.

Startup hiring and retaining new hires isn’t a competition for who can recruit the best and keep them the longest. Rather, it’s a chance for you to reach out and educate a hopeful entrepreneur, all the while reaping the benefits of their innovative skills and mindset. Your job is to cultivate them into the type of startup entrepreneur that can succeed on their own because of what they’ve learned in working for you.

Would you hire startup entrepreneurs with the knowledge that they wouldn’t be with your company for the long haul? Why or why not? Share in our comments!

Kathryn Randolph

Kathryn is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University and has five years experience writing for major job search and higher education websites. When she's not writing for the web, Kathryn is hanging out with her new baby girl, traveling, cooking, reading and running. She believes that the perfect job is out there for everyone and hopes to help Spark Hire job seekers discover their career passion and pursue it.

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