The A-team: attracting top talent to your start-up

Every entrepreneur needs to think about their ‘employer
brand’ to ensure they attract top talent as a good team is, in fact, often more
important than the idea itself, says Rajeeb Dey

I’m often asked to speak at enterprise events and usually I can pre-empt what I’ll be asked. However last week I was asked a question from the audience which caught me off-guard. A student asked me, “now that you’ve hired a team around you, how has it changed your life as an entrepreneur?” It was a silly answer but after a brief pause I replied “I drink a lot more tea!”

And indeed I do drink a lot more tea, mainly because now there is a place to do that. Having an office and a fulltime team means someone will be going to the kitchen every few minutes and it’s hard to say no when you’re asked ‘can I get you anything?’ But that’s only half the story. I also have a lot more fun and my business moves quicker and more efficiently because of the team around me.

Recruitment, especially for start-ups, is more of an art than a science. As a young entrepreneur, no one sat me down and told me about the rights and wrongs of recruitment, and it’s been a trial and error learning process. As and when the time has been right, I’ve added team members who have had the expertise that I was looking for and I’ve certainly never worked to a recruitment timetable. People that are excited by the mission of Enternships.com and want to be a part of it often approach me. In fact, all the people that currently work for me I either met at networking events or hired after they contacted me asking to do an internship – during which time they had made themselves indispensable.

Building a team to support your ideas, vision and passion is fun but time consuming and the sheer amount of paper work associated with taking on a member of staff makes hiring that bit more onerous. But hire you must, as even the most energetic entrepreneur has limits. Start-ups do not need big recruitment budgets or HR departments in order to attract top talent but it is important that you develop a brand to which people will be attracted. Make sure you convey your brand values; what does your company stand for, why are you doing something exciting and why would I want to work for you?

If you are currently thinking about taking on additional people, think about the skills you have and the skills you need while thinking about where it is you want to get to by making the hire. Does it make sense to take on a full-time staff member when outsourcing work might deliver quicker and more cost-effective results? Take your time to make sure the person you have in mind wants to work for you and shares your ethos rather than quickly hire someone who just wants a job.

I often tell aspiring entrepreneurs to hire staff who possess patience. I’ll often be struck with an idea before I go to sleep and by the time I’ve got to the office I’ve got a whole new concept that I eagerly want to get implemented that day and take to market that evening. This doesn’t often sit well with technology development schedules, as I’ve learned from the look in my developers’ eyes when I unveil my grand ‘new idea.’ Hire people with the strength of character to keep you focused on the overall vision (and at times have the courage to say no to you!) but also staff who can translate your ideas into action.

I want to take my business all over the world, into every territory possible and turn my company into a market leader, but I can’t do that by simply flying around the world, and it’s my team that will gradually edge us to success; whether it be the next development release or the next video for our blog, the responsibility of the entrepreneur is to set the framework, hire good people and then trust and support them to succeed. Every entrepreneur, no matter how early you are with your start-up should think about developing an employer brand which top talent aspire to be a part of.

Rajeeb Dey is CEO and Founder of enternships.com, a portal that provides internships for students in entrepreneurial businesses.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: 1st Line IT Support - Surrey - £24,000

£20000 - £24000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support Helpd...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Audit Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Audit Graduate Opportunities ar...

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing Exec (SEO / PPC)

£18 - 24k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Analyst / Online Marketing...

FDM Group: Business and Technical IT Consultants – London, Manchester, Glasgow

21,000-24,000: FDM Group: Kick-start your career and join FDM’s award-winning ...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there