Hiring at a Startup

August 25, 2021 Joe Haggarty

Hiring at any company comes with its challenges. Hiring at a startup is no exception, but the challenges (and advantages!) are very different compared to big companies. 

Startups have the ability to take hiring risks, or “flyers”, as I call them. We focus more on aptitude, grit, and comfort with unstructured environments, rather than directly comparable experience - some startups work on unique, novel ideas where there may not be comparable companies. “Flyers” are fun to watch because they are either going to crush it or they’re not going to work out so well. I have hired several candidates who did not meet the educational requirements or whose experience was in a completely different vertical, but they end up soaring in their new roles. And it’s because they all share one common trait - grit. Candidates in this category have no fear, are self-taught, and bootstrap their careers. I was a candidate like that - someone took a chance on me and it totally changed my life. I love giving that opportunity to other people.

Startups may not be a suitable workplace for everyone since they are riskier and more unstructured and fluid compared to established companies. But the benefits of startups are employees have the ability to make a huge impact, there’s not a lot of bureaucracy slowing things down, and it’s really fun to build something from the ground up. Oftentimes, candidates from established companies struggle with the fast pace, lack of process, and new technologies found at a startup. However, folks who are tired of how long it can take to get things done at larger companies find joining a startup freeing and empowering.

Startups also have the advantage of being able to have very personalized recruiting processes. At Suki, we start by clearly communicating to candidates what the process will be like, stay in touch throughout, and authentically showcase our culture.With that being said, the Covid pandemic has forced us to pivot our candidate experience. We had a very in-person process, where candidates could experience our company culture firsthand by attending all-hands meetings or lunches with our CEO. Now we are mostly virtual, but try to maintain the personal feel by making sure that our candidate virtual experience is well-executed and has elements of fun. 

On a final note, this may sound cheese-ball but my favorite part of the hiring process is helping someone find their new job here at Suki. Changing jobs is usually stressful for candidates - from the interview process, dealing with recruiters to giving notice, and on-boarding at a brand new company. I do what I can to make things fun by taking as much stress out of the process as I possibly can, and showcase how making the choice to join our company is a great decision. If you’re interested in joining our team and making a big impact in healthcare, check out our open positions.

About the Author

As Suki’s Global Head of Talent Acquisition, Joe is experienced in bringing in world-class individuals to fuel a scaling startup.

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