Struggling startup business- what should be the hiring strategy?

I have a friend who’s started his own web design/development company two years ago and recently he has started wanting to turn it into a full-blown agency. He has partnered with another friend who is more business-savvy than him.

Between the two, they have gotten enough clients consistently and are producing enough websites that they have found the need to hire several contractors that can either work remotely or in their small makeshift office. Even though it’s a step up, their business feels like it’s just now going through the motions, maybe the growing pains of a start-up. They seem to lack direction, cannot offer incentives to their employees, and just appear all around disorganized.

Now here’s my big worry- that they hire young, inexperienced workers. I understand that they can be less expensive, but seriously, young workers are typically less organized in their job than senior employees. That’s not gonna do much help to a business that is itself disorganized. At this time, they have to get their act together before they can effectively enforce discipline and organization to their own employees.

I told my friend that at this point, he’d be better off prioritizing depth, not breadth of experience when looking at job candidates. A senior employee just appears to be a better asset for a work environment that is still looking to find order, because they are more apt to working independently and be more proactive than a junior employee.

So is it right of me to suggest that they hold off indefinitely on hiring less-experienced developers? I feel that it will do a disservice to those developers, because the company is not yet ready to set a good example for them.

I just want to know what the best step he should take to move his business forward without risking the professionalism of his company, himself and others.

The project management is generally harder to fulfill than the design/development/etc. - great project managers are hard to find and are very expensive. I wouldn’t look to the developers or designers to fulfill that need, I would look for a very skilled PM who can drive projects to success.

As for hiring less experienced developers, there is usually a net loss that you’ll experience by hiring inexpensive developers. They just aren’t as organized, strategic, or quality minded in most cases. Many will aruge this, but most people who have run an agency will not :slight_smile: Hire at the middle tier at a minimum for maximum bang for the buck.

Thanks for the reply, and I think that has almost completely confirmed my own assertions. I definitely agree that hiring one or more good PMs would be better than just hiring loads of fresh college-grad developers.

So would you also say that it’s better to spare those junior workers the opportunity to work there and let them go else where, where they’ll be in better hands working for a larger, more established firm?

Hi Dwallen2,

I understand your dilemma here. I personally think the only thing good about hiring a young/junior worker (developer in this case) is the fact that they are more teachable than the old ones. As the famous saying goes, “It’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks.”

But, the major consideration for this is the fact they are hiring them for a startup. I am with you on this one. It is NOT ideal as they are seeking to develop their name/brand/business. What would a client think if they would realize how inexperienced their staff is? That would be bad for them. It would pull them down.

I also suggest your friend should get experts who would be able to help them build their name. This expert could guide them. <snip>

I just wish him luck in his business. It’s hard to keep a startup running.

Expenses are major concern hiring experienced employees for startups.
It take years train inexperienced designer/developers. There are so many small details, only time and experience can achieve that.
IMO they should try to hire somebody with at least three years experience.

I’d go with Sagewing’s reply here. If you’re going to hire someone for a start-up company, I’d suggest that you look for someone in the mid-tier, if you have budget constraints and all that. It’s true that the young and inexperienced are a lot less organized than the seniors, but they learn fast if they’re managed by someone who can really run things on the floor.

Web Design/Development Company is not an ordinary business to tackle. Yes, there are lot of company that hire applicants with experienced working on related business company. They will never let people without experienced. I think, same with this company much better to hire those who have experienced because it is not a simple job yet, it requires knowledgeable and skilled workers to become more progressive.

Dwallen2, I believe in the best of the young workers, when it comes to these fields, young workers have more knowledge and exposure. And for a college grad, he or she have probably enough experience to handle responsibilities.

[FONT=Verdana]As the OP has not returned to this thread in over a month, I think we must assume he has solved his dilemma.

Thread closed.[/FONT]