@GeeknRolla: How to hire staff for your start-up with coffee and ruthlessness

Hire early, hire often, but hire the right people.

That’s the advice from Pete Smith, co-founder of music concert alert service Songkick, who told the assembled GeeknRolla crowd that “Everyone you hire is crucial to a company’s ability to grow faster and faster.” So what’s his advice for finding the right people?

“Always be hiring” and integrate hiring into the expansion of other parts of the business.

Don’t compromise and take a personal approach: “You need to be really ruthless with hiring people,” says Smith “and spend as much time as possible meeting people for coffee and building your network as you do on official applicants”. When hiring a UX developer, Smith interviewed just five people he’d found through his personal/online network – boosted by researching people’s online profiles and blogs.

Spread the net wide: Early in Songkick’s life, after researching blogs, LinkedIn and posting official ads, a Songkick shortlist of 144 was then chopped down to just seven interviewees.

What if you don’t like coffee? asks a questioner from the crowd. “Camomile (tea) is fine,” according to Smith.