Betts Recruiting

Get free real-time compensation insights, with Comp Engine.

hiring during the growth stage

Best Hiring Practices for Growth-Stage Startups

The Betts Team
February 23, 2015

As a startup leader, saying you have a lot to manage could be the understatement of the century. With so many things top of mind, it can be easy to forget about the basic building blocks and best hiring practices essential to constructing a successful startup. It’s also easy to overlook hiring during the growth stage. Communication is the gasoline that fuels success in the VC/startup world. Few people understand its importance more than CEO of AngelSpan, Joe Milam.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, AngelSpan is closing the knowledge gap on proper investor relations and revealing the opportunities startups could gain from improving its practice. As Digital Marketer at Betts’ San Francisco office, I had the opportunity to ask Joe about Austin’s emerging tech scene.


In our chat, we noted how common it is to hear someone say “Austin is the next Silicon Valley”. Advocates of the Austin tech scene allude to even greater potential for this southwest tech hub, and Joe agrees. Like many, he believes Austin can provide a strong foundation for a more efficient startup environment by learning from the mistakes of its more weathered Silicon sibling. So, it’s no wonder that his business model works to facilitate communication between seasoned mentors, investors, and new CEOs.

Insights on Best Hiring Practices During the Growth Stage Trends

Needless to say, Betts Recruiting is happy to be joining the Austin tech community with new offices that opened this February! We’re glad to be connecting with leaders like Joe and look forward to contributing to the growth happening all over Austin and the southwest.

We took a look at key company indicators that correlate to successful outcomes for mentors, stakeholders, and investors. These include: transparency of activities with thorough communication, and a robust and disciplined hiring trend.

There is a growing awareness, although experienced VCs and angels have intuitively known this, that CEOs and entrepreneurs who are transparent and have an effective communication strategy tend to have the better performing companies. The question here is whether it is a causal or casual relationship. There’s some interesting work out there related to best hiring practices, which we highlight below.

After citing data going back ten years, thanks to research done by Mattermark, there are some reliable trends to consider. Most notably, a single indicator of an interesting and potentially rewarding startup investment is an accelerated curve of hiring.
The implications are intuitively logical: clear growth needs have been identified, scalable processes have been set in place, and management hired high quality people in a measured way based on needs, not solely a large funding round.

What should the hiring rate look like at my company?

Here, there is really no one “best” answer. However, most board members would be pleased to see hiring rates trail and mimic revenue. Using revenue as a measure for hiring is a good best practice for startups entering a growth stage. Likewise, accelerated sales are a good indicator for pulling the trigger on a more aggressive hiring strategy.

Do I have the bandwidth to do it myself?

If you’re part of a small team, it’s not rare for the CEO to play “hiring manager”. It’s time to decide if sifting through resumes and cover letters is the best use of your time at this critical stage.

How much will it cost our company?

Think about the costs associated with rolling out a more aggressive hiring strategy. This includes the result of salary divided by time spent, advertising, additional services used, and the cost of making the wrong decision on a hire and having to start over again.

How long will it take?

There will be time spent on creating ads, sourcing candidates, reading resumes, and conducting interviews. Take a look at the different activities involved and the time it will take to complete them.

What kind of talent pool can we pull from?

Hiring highly qualified people is essential, especially for small startups. Be sure to consider both the quantity and quality of your talent pool. A good way to start is through our new Betts Connect platform.

Can we find exactly what we need?

Many times, startups need people with a specific skill set. You should clearly identify exactly what kind of skills your team needs, and consider how available these types of candidates are for you.

There are lots of ways to determine whether it’s time to hit the gas on your hiring practices. If your company is on the verge of massive growth, ask yourself these questions and consider your options. In many cases, using a third party placement agency can accelerate your hiring process and save you money.

To summarize, if you’re a mentor or investor looking for a ‘good deal’ to avail your valuable time and resources, you would do well to identify those startups that embrace transparency and thorough communication. Once you identify them, you would also do well to invest your time and money to help them grow to accelerate their need and ability to expedite their hiring needs in a thoughtful, professional way.

At Betts Recruiting, we pride ourselves on understanding your business through a consultative approach that identifies exactly what your company needs. It’s our policy to meet with clients and candidates in person, so that we can both thoroughly vet our candidates and build relationships with clients. Our mission is to match top talent with the world’s most innovative companies, and we’re excited to do exactly that in Austin!

We have recently landed along side Joe and his team at Angelspan, and are ready to contribute to the flourishing tech community in the heartland of the Lone Star State. Connect with Joe and his team!

Want to connect with Betts in Austin? Reach out to Mario Espindola, Managing Director of the Southwest Region for Betts Recruiting, or connect with us here. From all of us at Betts, we are excited to meet you.