Hiring can be very difficult for a startup. You’re competing for talent with established companies that have a stronger brand name and the resources to offer better financial terms than you. You can compensate for offering a lower base salary with an attractive equity package but whether that equity package will eventually amount to something is a question mark. The truth is that most startups fail.
You may be the rare exception to this. You may have achieved product market fit and may be experiencing breakout growth with a group of all star investors that make hiring easy for you. You may be the next Facebook (back in 2006) or Uber (back in 2011). If this is the case, you’ll have a good shot at hiring the exact candidates you want.
For most startups, this isn’t the case. You need to compromise on hiring the best person for the role because you don’t have the brand name and financial resources to do so. In these cases, I recommend hiring for the next year.
This means that you should hire people who will be able to properly fill their roles based on where you believe the company will be next year. Ideally you’d like to hire for 3-5 years out, but as discussed earlier, you’re unlikely to have this luxury. And hiring for right now is too shortsighted. If you don’t think that the hire is good enough to meet the demands which the role will require of them next year, this will be a costly hire. The up-front costs of hiring, integration, training, and eventual replacement are unlikely to justify the less than year long contribution that they make to the business.
Also published on Medium.