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Recruiting for Startups: What Are Some of the Most Important Early Stage Startup Roles to Hire For?

Recruiting for startups can be challenging yet rewarding for a recruiter. In the early stages of a startup, the right hires can propel the startup toward its next stages of growth. Early hires determine everything from company culture to its growth. Not having the right people can destabilize the startup and postpone expansion. Startup founders want people with broad and general capabilities who are not afraid of a challenge and who believe in the founder’s vision.

The First Roles You Need to Fill When Recruiting for Startups

Startup recruiting requires an agile and adaptable full cycle recruiter. You will be sourcing and screening applicants for vital roles in the company in the earliest stages of the company. You will likely work closely with the founder to develop the recruiting and hiring process and onboard the initial hires. Startups typically have more flexibility in hiring, seeking well-rounded candidates who can fulfill several roles during the company’s early days.

Many startups begin the early stages of development with the founder acting as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and many other roles. While some startup founders are well suited to the CEO position or can learn the skills to excel as CEO, others will need to bring in an external collaborator to act as CEO and move the company to its next stages.

Chief Operations Officer (COO)

If your startup’s founder is acting as the CEO, the first role you can recruit for is equally vital to the startup’s success in many ways. A COO solves problems to improve everyday processes and create opportunities for the startup. They can also support internal communications, recordkeeping, and human resources roles. Organizations where the CEO handles some of the COO’s responsibilities can recruit an operations manager or office manager before a COO. Filling the COO position first will ensure the day-to-day tasks are carried out with fewer problems and allow the CEO to concentrate on directing the company.

Product Manager

The product manager is in charge of developing products and ensuring efficient processes. They work with marketing and engineering to develop, refine, and market the startup’s products. The founder typically develops the initial creation and ensures its success. However, continued product development will need to shift to a product manager as the company expands and the founder’s scope of work expands to other areas. The founder will train the product manager and ensure their vision continues in the following product. If the startup’s product is related to technology, a CTO may take the place of the product manager.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

The CTO focuses on the startup’s external technology and development, including products, if the startup’s product or service is a technology solution. In the early stages of the startup, they may also manage internal technology, such as the back-end and front-end software development projects, CRM, or apps. Later in the startup’s development, a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) takes over internal technology later in the company lifecycle. The CTO is a crucial hire in the early stages of the startup to ensure the management and proper integration of existing and new systems, devices, and infrastructure. 

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

The CMO promotes a startup’s service or product. Early in the startup’s lifecycle, they will be responsible for creating copy, email marketing, funnels, landing pages, advertising campaigns, and a wide range of content for social media. They work closely with the CTO to ensure websites, social media, and apps provide a good experience for clients and promote the brand image. The CMO can also be a de facto customer service representative (CSR) and community manager, depending on the product or service your startup is selling. A CMO with a sales background can be ideal for generating leads in the startup’s early days. However, a sales manager, business development manager, or CSR with sales skills can also fill the role of generating leads and closing sales.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

A CFO is responsible for the startup’s finances. They secure loans and investments and handle supplier contracts, leases, and petty cash allowances. Payroll and accounting are also under the CFO’s purview, whether they play an active role or supervise an outsourced provider.

Most startups can save money in the early stages by outsourcing accounting roles. A CFO is a vital first hire because they are also responsible for raising funds when it is time to scale up and move to the next stage.

Business Development Manager

The business development manager ensures a startup’s steady and continuous growth. They can also act in place of a sales manager, generating and closing leads. They will work closely with your startup’s CMO and sales or marketing leadership. They create strategic partnerships and increase revenue to help the startup grow. Pay close attention to a candidate’s skills and experience when recruiting for this role to get the most out of this vital early startup hire.

Customer Service Representative

Every business depends on customers, and providing superior customer service is necessary. A full cycle recruiter should fill at least one CSR role in the early stages of the startup to build a positive relationship with clients and establish a reputable brand. A startup with the best products or services will still be in trouble if they do not have a CSR to respond to calls, emails, and messages to provide customers with the personalized attention they expect.

How Should a Startup Recruiter Fill These First Critical Roles for Their Startup

Early roles in a startup will shape the future and success of the company. If you are recruiting for a startup, you may wonder how to improve the recruiting process to meet the founder’s goals and start building the organization. If your recruiting sources are not finding you enough quality candidates, you may need to turn to external recruiting channels and outsource your candidate sourcing. Moving your sourcing to an external partner can help you expand your candidate pools to find quality candidates.

In addition to outsourcing, a full cycle recruiter can leverage recruitment platforms as strategic recruiting partners. The ideal full cycle recruiting software assists in sourcing and screening the best candidates, providing profiles of the top picks based on your hiring needs. They enhance your productivity, automating the offer letter and onboarding paperwork email to improve your recruiting KPIs or key performance indicators.

Comeet is a recruiting platform that provides all the tools a full-cycle recruiter needs to fill early startup roles. It is the only solution for recruiters, optimizing your productivity from sourcing to hiring. With our all-in-one platform, you can save money on job posting sites, advertisements, and career sites. Schedule a demo with Comeet today.

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