Event Review // First Five Hires Posted at 0:00, Tue, 21 October 2014 in Industry Insights

To build a great team, know yourself before you hire others

Recently MitchelLake and General Assembly Melbourne hosted Steve Hibberd, CEO and Co-Founder of Tiger Pistol along with our own Jonathan Jeffries to discuss building a startup team in the early stages.

Steve and JJ answered a number of questions including:

– What are typically the first five hires a start-up should make and why?
– What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced when hiring?
– What is the biggest misconception people have when looking to work for a start-up?
– What are some of the limiting factors when it comes to finding people to join a startup business?
– What makes people successful in a startup environment?

The key takeaways really centered around a major theme that Steve established, that of really knowing who you are as a founder or co-founder when it comes to what you are good at and what your limitations are. At times it seems like common sense but it is the starting place to determine what skill sets and personalities you need to look for when hiring to complement what you have.

Leading on from that another piece of insight delivered from both the panelists was around whether to hire contractors or not. Steve and JJ agreed that if you are looking for talent to work on what is the ‘core’ of your business it needs to be someone that will allow you to keep that knowledge in house rather than different people coming in and out of the business.

The final piece of advice that really hit home was related to the challenges faced by an early stage business when it comes to securing great talent against other organisations. Once again the key to this came back to knowing who you are and what you are trying to achieve with your business and idea. Having a clear vision and direction is paramount to gaining buy-in and pushing the right buttons to get people wanting to join you on that journey believe in what you are doing.

A big thanks to Steve and JJ along with General Assembly for the beers and space and of course all those that gave up their time to come along and spend time with us!


Matt Smith works in MitchelLake’s Melbourne office and leads the Australian team for MitchelLake Consulting, working with an awesome team of humans who source talent across emerging technology, experience and service design, product, digital marketing, growth, data science and analytics.

Matt’s domain expertise leans towards hiring senior roles in experience and design and he enjoys the balance of working with fast growth, early stage organisations and larger scale companies going through digital transformation and the unique challenges they both bring.

Originally from New Zealand, Matt spent time living in the UK before moving to Melbourne where he enjoys playing basketball, rearing indoor plants and incredible access to some of the world’s best coffee.