Opportunistic Hiring All The Time in a Startup

A popular question I get on a regular basis is “what positions are you guys hiring for now?” Previously, I’d enumerate a small number of outstanding positions that were top of mind. Now, I say that we’re opportunistically hiring for all major positions all the time. Our most common positions are software engineer, support specialist, services coordinator, and sales rep — we’re literally trying to hire as many as we can that fit our culture with no limit, other than office space, on the number of people.

Early stage startups do well having opportunistic hiring for a few key positions, like engineering and sales, so that they’re always welcoming resumes and building a pipeline of potential candidates. Plus, if you go to the careers section of a startup site and it says they aren’t hiring for any positions, it gives you pause as to how well the business is doing. Early stage startups usually don’t have the resources to hire as many people as fit their culture, but they should always be on the look out for the tough-to-fill positions.

Product-based companies work differently compared to consulting companies in that for a handful of roles, there are much greater economies of scale, especially in small, fast-growing markets with great potential. With consulting, everyone needs to have billable hours and it’s often difficult to balance internal staffing so that everyone is billable as unbillable team members on the beach/bench significantly diminish profitability of the firm. Consulting firms can have some level of opportunistic hiring but rarely like a growth-stage software startup.

What else? What are your thoughts on opportunistic hiring all the time in a startup?

4 thoughts on “Opportunistic Hiring All The Time in a Startup

  1. Just wanted to make a comment I’ve been thinking about most days when I read your posts here. You do realize that Pardot is not a startup anymore, at least not as Steve Blank defines it, right? (and I think Steve’s definition is resonating with many.)

    According to Steve a startup is “a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. Wouldn’t you say that Pardot is long past being temporary and that Pardot identified its repeatable and scalable business model a long time ago? Which is huge kudos to you, but still. Just saying…

    1. I think that’s a great definition of a startup. I also like to think of startups as organizations experiencing rapid change and growth in a new market.

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