Hiring is a muscle that organizations build over time, so it’s critical to put a process in place earlier rather than later. A clearly defined hiring process can help early-phase startups avoid costly and destabilizing hiring mistakes. Keeping in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting — and each company develops their own process to align with their unique culture — here’s a high-level breakdown of an end-to-end recruiting process for early hires.
Make sure the recruiter, hiring manager, founder, or whoever conducts the initial outreach conducts the pre-screen before the formal interview process begins. (See pre-screen guide with questions). This helps disqualify any candidates who might not be a good fit. Forward the candidate's materials to the hiring manager if all looks good.
In the case of hiring UX or UI engineers, this part of the process usually involves a portfolio review, and for sales roles, requires quota and revenue targets.
In our experience, we've found that the majority of UX/UI engineers want to work on consumer products. Oftentimes, the challenge with UI/UX is finding someone who has SaaS experience and is motivated to work on an enterprise product.
For sales roles especially, make sure you understand their compensation expectations before you bring them in for an on-site interview. If you can’t do that, continuing the conversation might be a waste of time.
Don’t let schedules be a deterrent. If you can't meet in person, do a video call if needed and work around the candidate’s schedule to demonstrate how interested you are. Make sure to ask level-appropriate questions.
For example, if you're looking for a software architect, asking a question around data structures and algorithms would not be appropriate. The candidate might be rusty, causing you to reject a potentially strong candidate. You also risk offending an experienced candidate by asking questions that are too basic.
If possible, keep the hiring process to one technical interview (two for remote candidates) and one "on-site" interview (or, in the case of remote companies, video interviews). Before the onsite interview, make sure everyone on the hiring team is on the same page. Be sure to communicate with the candidate about the interview process time line, so they know how much time to budget.
Require interviewers to give a “yes” or “no” immediately after each interview.
Let the candidate know either way, whether it’s a rejection or an offer ASAP.
If you’re going to do a back-channel reference, start from the minute the candidate's resume is submitted so you don’t bottleneck the process.
Last but not least, make the offer to the final candidate in a timely manner. As for candidates who do not make the final cut, send them a thoughtful email thanking them for their time.
Selling while you hire