Startup Hiring

Startup Hiring 101: A Founder’s Guide. Part 11 - The initial sell conversation

Steve Bartel

Steve Bartel

CEO and Co-Founder

Posted on

March 26, 2024

The initial sell conversation is your first touchpoint with a candidate and is usually over coffee or call/video call. At Gem, we call this conversation the “initial sell conversation” because the primary goal is to “sell” your candidate. For that reason, our detailed guide to the initial sell conversation lives in the selling & closing section of our complete startup hiring guide.

We link to it and summarize it here in part 11 because it probably makes sense to learn a little about selling and closing before jumping into our next post about nurturing passive talent or our guide to interviewing. You should probably also read the introduction to selling and closing and understanding motivations alongside the initial sell conversation.

Again, head to our detailed guide to the initial sell conversation, but here are some high-level best practices:

  • Make candidates comfortable by building a strong rapport.

  • Spend most of your time selling, especially for passive candidates.

  • Selling doesn’t mean “pitching” the whole time. Get to know what’s important to your candidate by asking questions, which is very similar to “discovery” in sales.

  • Qualify out of candidates where there isn’t a good mutual fit. In many cases, because your startup may not be the right fit for them.

  • For candidates you want to move forward with, make sure to suggest and lock in the next step.

Up Next

In part 12 of our hiring guide, we’ll cover how to nurture prospective candidates once you have already had your initial sell conversation in order to get them excited about your startup.

In the meantime…


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