Over the past weeks, we’ve discussed the steps involved in recruiting and hiring key employees for a startup. In the first three posts, I walked readers through the processes I followed when I made the all-important first two hires for my startup RecruitLoop. The first post focused on how to find potential candidates. The second post detailed our process for selecting the best candidates. The third post discussed the often-overlooked details of what happens after you decide on a candidate: negotiating an offer, hiring, and on-boarding. In this final post, I sum up my top three lessons learned.

1. Good hiring takes time

The process of recruiting and hiring requires a serious time commitment. Recruiting two new candidates consumed the majority of my time, effort, and emotional capital during the two-month-long process. But in the end, we on-boarded two highly-talented new team members who are a great fit for our company and will bring great value to our team.

What’s more, I’ve since learned from people who have much more experience at this than I do that fully one-third of a startup CEO’s job is recruiting, hiring, and developing the core team (the other two-thirds consist of driving the overall strategy and keeping enough money in the bank). It’s critical that you invest the time to lead this process well.

 

2. ‘Recruiting’ is a skill you can build

The recruiting and hiring process involves a many steps, each requiring not only time and focus, but unique skills. Depending on your own strengths and weaknesses, you’ll find some parts of the process easier—or harder—than others. It’s rare for someone to be outstanding at all of them. Therefore, there’s considerable opportunity to build a more modular, skills-based approach to the recruitment process, one that you are evaluating and fine-tuning on a regular basis.

In addition, the early part of the recruitment process is really about getting quality potential candidates in the door. That means tapping into your network for referrals. So even when you’re not actively recruiting, be sure you’re expanding and strengthening your existing network, to increase your chances of getting the referrals you need when the time comes. Also, it pays to maintain a strong digital presence, which can help persuade prospective candidates to want to work for your company in the first place.

 

3. Leverage your skills, and outsource when you can

We were lucky to know something about recruiting before we began this process. For many founders, their knowledge base is much lower. We benefited from heavy use of our own tools (e.g., video interviews), which increased our productivity and led to better results. Next time, I plan to outsource steps that don’t require my personal attention, such as sourcing passive candidates. I believe we can save a lot of time and still get great results by having someone else do this.

Fortunately, I know some great recruiters who have helped me along the way. It pays to cultivate relationships like this—and pay other people to strategically share the recruitment burden with you.

 

Guest b​logger Michael Overell is the co-founder and CEO at RecruitLoop, a marketplace for elastic recruiting. You can follow him @mboverell. This article was originally posted on the RecruitLoop Blog to document Michael’s experience to make his first two key hires.