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Startup Recruitment: The First 4 Roles to Hire  


Startup is an innovative, fast-paced business that needs creative teams to prosper. When helping a startup in their hiring process, recruiters should at least know who and which roles should be filled first. The most common first roles suggested for startup business can be divided into four categories: strategic, executive, core and support.

  • Strategic roles - It is vital for achieving strategic goals and “keeping the lights on” in startup business. Thus, recruiters should help find the right person who fits with strategic roles. For example, if the business is in the SaaS industry, recruiters can start with developers, software engineers, and quality control analysts for its key strategic roles. If it focuses on product innovation, designers and product managers might be considered key strategic roles.

  • Senior Executive roles - This becomes more relevant as the business grows and the CEO/founder has too many direct reports. A formal org structure is developed and senior leaders are hired to close the gaps where relevant. 

  • Core roles - These relate to operational excellence, and include roles such as sales, operations, and marketing. 

  • Support roles - These keep the internal operations running smoothly. Depending on the company's focus, this could be operations, HR, administration, and finance. 

These jobs are the most critical to executing startup strategy. Titles and level within the business do not matter in determining which roles are strategic - but rather, the roles’ relation to the business strategy. 

See also: Data-Driven Approach to Recruiting the Right Talents 

If recruiters are asked to hire multiple strategic roles, it is worth investing time in a recruitment plan for these hires. Depending on the startup's hiring capability, recruiters might advise to outsource strategic and senior executive roles, or hire a dedicated resource or RPO provider. Developers and engineers are highly sought after and will need the best sourcing channels available in order to attract passive candidates. Both core and support roles should be hired directly by the company. It is unnecessary to outsource these hires to a vendor. These roles can be hired directly through advertising channels, social media, and your network, where you will find plenty of active candidates. 

A piece of advice

When hiring for startup roles, look for individuals who will strengthen leadership and accurately represent the brand. A major focus in startup roles is strengthening the internal relationships as well as external ones. Without filling these roles, startups will lose its direction and lack strong leadership which might lead to high turnover. Thus, it is important to consider startups goals and values during recruitment. Defining these allows companies to find matches and narrow down the skills and qualities of talents out there. 

Collaborating and helping the startup recruitment process will give thrilling experiences for recruiters as startups are generally a fast-paced business that needs support. Unlike big companies, startups are usually not so picky with the candidates as long as the candidates can give the best and do the work the business needs. If you want the thrilling experience of helping startup businesses in their recruitment, visit for more information.  

Read also: Hiring Guide for Employment Companies in Singapore: The Law

Next read: Measuring and Evaluating Recruitment Results