Successful Startups’ Hiring Practices – What Real Estate Startups Can Learn

by Marti Trewe, AGBeat


One of the biggest challenges of launching a new business is finding like minds to hire that will help take your company to the next level, and startups are constantly forced to make these decisions, not only in the early days, but along the way as they grow. Hiring practices of the most successful startups vary, but there are some commonalities to inspire your own hiring practices.

The hallmark of the best startups is mission-driven employees. In fact, Facebook offered to purchase startup mobile app company Glancee just to get the startup’s exceptional talent, not for the actual business. If you want to hire employees for your startup that are worthy of a bidding-war, here’s how to do it:

Tap the friend base. Chances are, your awesome programmer is friends with other awesome programmers, or salespeople, or any other position.

Give your employees and biggest customer fans an incentive for referrals, whether it’s cash, a good parking spot, a cupcake tree, whatever you can afford. Dropbox offered 250 megabytes of free storage to their most devoted fans in exchange for successful referrals.

Take your time. Startup Airbnb interviewed for three months before hiring their first employee. It just took that long to find the right culture fit. Airbnb also has all candidates meet with not only the head of the department they work for, but the whole team as well.

Put them to the test. In an effort to recruit the cleverest programmers, Instagram had interviewees complete a photo challenge: writing a program that takes a shredded photo and reassembles it.

Fight for the culture. Don’t let someone in the door who isn’t a good culture fit. Culture and mission are what drive startups. E-commerce store Zappos offers new hires $2,000 to quit during training, an opportunity to get out if it’s not a good fit. While that’s a bit extreme, startups should be just as stringent about never bending when it comes to only hiring people who embody their company’s culture.

Hiring Practices May Vary

What is most intriguing is that Airbnb took three months to make their first hire. Not all businesses have the luxury of waiting so long as they are picky, but if the possibility exists, it should most definitely be taken advantage of.

One point that was not made is that most of the startups mentioned, and the majority of the successful startups in America, hail from the Silicon Valley, where many of the most talented hires are recruited to, or already live. The talent pool is very different in other cities, ranging from highly talented and unwilling to live in California to limited resources. The ultimate message, however, is that you should never settle.

As a startup or small business, the people you hire are your brand, and with the mainstream nature of social media, they are likely the face of your company as well, even if they are not hired to be as such.

Startups are typically fueled by passion, thus hiring practices are as well, and the enthusiasm with which a team is built is far different than how a legacy brand hires, so no matter the stage of your company, take some inspiration from the startup entrepreneurs that handpick every single hire as they build their team that is responsible for helping to build the founder’s dreams.



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