Advice for early-stage hiring?


I am the CEO of a rapidly growing startup and our growth has begun to outpace our resources as a 3 person organization. So we have begun looking around for people to hire, both as programmers, as salespeople, and as mixtures of the two.

We are looking for advice on the best way to go about this. On the programmer side, I'm thinking of hiring a college kid as a part-time consultant -- since I'm a technical person myself, I would be able to give them the architecture and just have them do the gruntwork. On the sales side, I could see hiring full-time, but our commission structures (as is) are very generous so I would be looking to give a low base, something around $30k.

Does this sound like a good plan to you? What is the "standard" base for a salesman with a decent commission? Any advice on how to go about hiring when you're small but growing rapidly?

Thanks a million!

Getting Started Hiring Employees

asked Feb 8 '12 at 07:55
279 points

1 Answer


Hiring is a terribly painful process for small businesses. I am still very much involved in all of our hiring and it takes a lot of time to find good candidates, interview them, make offers, hire etc.

As a small company hiring good people is paramount. Make sure to ask your good employees if they know someone who would be good for the job, or if they have any recommendations for people who would fit your culture. As a small company hire people who are smart, passionate and who will fit your company culture. Those type of people will get things done, whether it's sales, marketing, management, and learn what needs to be learned to make your business a success.

Hiring interns and college students is a great idea. We typically have 2 or 3 college students and they are a great fit with our organization. They provide us with a reasonable cost, we provide them work experience and a rewarding environment to learn in. Over the summer a smart student can become an invaluable resource. We trained a developer on iOS over the summer and we was cranking out great code by the end of his internship.

Sales - depending on how lucrative your commission structure is $30,00 may be high. If your commission is really good base salary sometimes gets decreased or removed completely over time. Something to consider. But - since it's your first salesman it's tough to say. Base it off how much you have sold in the last 6 months, should they expect those results or better since they are focused 100% on that. Just make sure whatever you set in place you are comfortable with. If you set up something like 20% commission and they are killing it and raking in 1/2 million a year in commission you have to be good with that :]

We do a similar base and 10% commission.

Also - get your 'grunts' involved in the architecture and decisions. Even if you drive the overall direction having their input and buy in will ultimately make them more accountable and more driven to see your product succeed.

answered Feb 8 '12 at 15:35
Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • This is hugely helpful, thanks man. Still getting into the CEO thing and this type of experience is crucial! – Jason 12 years ago

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