One Call to Make Before Picking Your Startup's Headquarters

If you must choose a long term headquarters for your startup, call an executive recruiter who focuses in that city. Ask her about each of the key roles your company will need to hire in the next 2 to 3 years. VP Engineering, VP Product, VP Sales, VP Customer Success, VP Marketing, or VP Operations.

How large is the candidate pool for each search? Which are the hardest searches to complete in this geography? Where are the best talent pools to sift through?

After establishing product market fit, the startups grow their management team to scale. Three prototypes exist: hire from the outside, cultivate talent internally, and a combination. By far the most common is the last.

Startups typically promote several leaders from within the business and hire a few from outside. This balances the risks of hiring less known leaders with the benefits of adding external perspectives and experience.

Without a large pool of talent to mine, a startup will struggle to hire teams. The business may need to relocate someone, train someone, or hire someone remote. These challenges are surmountable, but they blunt the startup’s advantage: speed.

The hiring challenge will recur and reverberate immediately and for a long time. Once hired, the executive will build his team, most likely hiring from his network. He will seek people with relevant experience. If there are few, team construction will lag.

Some startups solve this problem with distributed teams. The same perspective applies to them. When starting a new office, pick the location based on talent pool. And who better to call to understand the labor market dynamics than an executive recruiter from that locale?