Digital illustration of network of people
Hiring isn't just about finding people with the right skills. — Getty Images

When an entrepreneur launches their company, they often start out with just themselves or a small founding team handling all day-to-day operations. Over time, though, most startups need to hire a team to help them reach the next level of growth.

If you've never had employees before, this can be a daunting task. Hiring someone is a huge financial commitment, so it's important to take your time and find the right person for the right role in your company.

CO— recently interviewed a group of entrepreneurs about their hiring philosophies, processes and challenges, especially in the early days of their business. Follow their advice to successfully grow your startup team.

Know your core values

Hiring people with the right skills is important, but if you want your new hires to thrive at your company, they need to be aligned with your business's core values. David Spector, co-founder and co-CEO of ThirdLove, says his company's core values play a huge role in hiring decisions.

"When we go through the recruiting process and we're interviewing somebody, we really look at them through that lens," said Spector.

If you haven't taken the time to define your company's values, do so before you make your first hire. This will help you ask the right questions to assess how a candidate will fit into your culture.

CO— recently asked these entrepreneurs for their best hiring advice.

Find people to whom you can delegate your work

Entrepreneur Gene Marks said he was once advised to hire people who are smarter than him, and he followed this approach when he started recruiting people to his consulting firm, The Marks Group.

Marks sought talented, skilled people who could take on some of the work he had been doing himself. Once he was able to delegate certain tasks, he was free to focus on growth and strategy.

"That process helped me to develop into more of a business development and sales person," he noted. "It was at that time … that our business really started taking off."

Seek different perspectives and work styles

When you're used to working alone, it's natural to want to replicate yourself and find people with similar skill sets, as Marks did. This is a good approach for your first few hires, but you don't want to fall into the trap of hiring the same types of people over and over again.

As you grow, it's critical to seek out people who have unique perspectives, backgrounds and work styles so you can continue to innovate. Jasmine Crowe, CEO of Goodr, purposely looked for candidates who were different from her and could balance her own personality.

"I'm a very much a visionary – I needed a lot of Type A personalities that were going to sit down and make those to-do lists and be very methodical in how they attack things," Crowe explained. "I looked for the balance."

As you grow, it's critical to seek out people who have unique perspectives, backgrounds and work styles so you can continue to innovate.

Create a culture worth talking about

It can be difficult making your first few hires, but, once you have them, you can empower your team to become ambassadors to other potential candidates in your industry. Clay McDaniel, COO of Ripl, says his company invests in the employee experience, which encourages staff members to spread the word about Ripl's culture and work environment.

"They tell that story about the cultural experience they're having working with us," McDaniel said. "That radiates out into the Seattle area … and comes back to us with new employees."

Watch the full video for more hiring tips from our panel of entrepreneurs.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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