What should start-ups look for when hiring?

3 minute read

When scaling-up a business, you want to hire resources that will significantly impact your growth. This is true of all SMEs, but particularly important for start-ups where markets are fast moving and you have a limited window of opportunity to bring your ideas to life. 

In the ever-changing environments of fin-tech and health tech, for example, certain characteristics in new resources will make a real difference. In this blog post we share the star qualities that our relationship managers look for in talent for start-ups, and what you as a Founder should be looking for in your next hire.


Your number one priority will be hiring a candidate with the expertise to help grow your business. 360WORK's database contains individual skilled professionals as well as ready-made teams, experts from leading businesses and top universities.

Look for measurable results in industry, qualifications and a watertight portfolio. If you aim to fill a technical position, consider using aptitude and coding tests when screening candidates. 360WORK allows experts in software development and data science to complete skills test that will be shown on their profile.

One of our relationship managers can also manage these assessments and initial interviews before sending you a shortlist of resources for final interview, along with technical test reports, portfolios and assessments (as appropriate).


It goes without saying that any resource should be passionate and genuinely interested in your product and/or service. Examine how a person spends their time and assess whether it aligns with your core values. For example, have they made space for development relevant to your sector, such as taking qualifications, establishing an industry blog, or volunteering?

Passion is also vital because you want talent that will grow and develop with you; new hires in a start-up will take on responsibility much more quickly than their counterparts in established companies – you want someone that will stick around.  

Flexibility and Grit

On that note, resources working in fast-moving markets need to be agile as they will likely be working to tight deadlines and outside their usual ‘job role’. Look out for talent that has experience juggling tasks with conflicting priorities, and pay attention to how candidates deal with shifting needs and expectations within a business. 

This is particularly important when hiring remote resources, as working from home requires greater levels of communication and trust. Ask yourself, will this person roll up their sleeves and get stuck in? Will they take ownership over a task and see it through to completion?


Where dreams are big but budgets are small, creativity is arguably the most important trait for prospective start-up employees. Resources will need to think around problems and offer innovative solutions that establish cost-effective ways of working. 

Start-ups also foster a more horizontal culture, and it’s likely that any resources will have a say in product development and creative brainstorming. Look for candidates that have flair and are full of ideas with well calculated risks.

Capacity to Learn

While you want to hire resource with expertise, the start-up landscape changes so rapidly that continuing professional development and training is a key part of any role. You want team members that are committed to learning new skill sets and can pivot when needed.

You will also need to assess how candidates deal with mistakes, which of course do happen in the accelerated environment of a start-up. Be mindful of how quickly talent recovers, and how they view their slip ups – are they a learning opportunity or a moment for self-punishment? 

To summarise, passion, flexibility, creativity and the capacity to learn are all core qualities to look for in start-up talent. 

We know how busy early-stage companies can be. If you want to quickly find the right resource for your growing business then we can help. Our relationship managers can take away the pain, cost and time involved in finding the best resources (individual or teams) for projects, contracts and full time employment. We have a No Hire, No Fee policy for your peace of mind. If you want to discuss your individual needs, get in touch and find an expert with 360WORK.


1 year ago

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