How to Hire Your First Team Members

Time to build your team? Find below a compilation of tested advice and helpful resources on sourcing and retaining the right people for your startup.


When to Start Recruiting

It is actually the other way around - first, you need to inspire people to join your startup on a budget and then attract investors.

Usually, in the early stages, startups choose generalists over narrow specialists because they can do multiple things.

An inability to define roles and delegate tasks can fail a startup. Following a plan to gradually transfer responsibilities to others will smoothen the team expansion process.

Where to Find Startup Talent

Startup networking events are an excellent starting point. Wherever you go, always be pitching and looking for great people. Instead of stating that you’re searching for a specific type of professional, you can elaborate on the gap you want to fill.

Friends and family can make a good team for your startup if their professional values, vision, and skills are in alignment with yours. In case you employ people from your close circle, set clear expectations around finances, hierarchy, etc.

Founder Institute Core program prepares founders for sourcing talent, screening, hiring, and onboarding. Our graduates also get immediate access to FI’s countless resources and global network of founders, mentors, and investors.

How to Hire on a Budget?

If you can’t afford big paychecks, motivate your team by creating a strong vision and mission that people will rally around.

You can go solo, but finding a compatible business partner who shares your vision and ambition, can significantly increase your startup’s chances of success.

Offering equity can be a shortcut to attracting top talent. Learn some of the best ESOP and vesting practices.

There are various open-source templates available online you can use to sort out the legal relationships with your team members, mentors, and advisors. Founder Institute has created several standard agreements that have helped thousands of founders.

Screening and Onboarding

For startups, culture fit is incredibly important and should be the #1 hiring criterion. If a candidate is growth-oriented, they will easily adapt and learn what they might be lacking.

The ideal onboarding process for a startup begins during the recruitment phase. Most successful startups recruit talent with a series of “test projects” before the new employee is officially working for the company.

Define the most critical qualities for the role and list questions to determine whether the candidate has them. If you ask everybody the same things, it will be easier to compare responses.

Apply to FI Core

Join the world's largest pre-seed startup accelerator

The Founder Institute is the world’s most proven network to turn ideas into fundable startups, and startups into global businesses. Since 2009, our structured accelerator programs have helped over 7,000 entrepreneurs raise over $1.75BN in funding. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 100 countries, our mission is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology companies worldwide.

Copyright © 2024, Founder Institute, Inc. All Rights Reserved