🦸 Building a Team from Scratch: Who to Hire First — A Leader or Team Members?

NEWHR Recruiting
2 min readMar 19, 2024


Situation: A company, often a startup, needs to assemble a team from scratch. This could be a development team, a marketing team, or any other.

Where to begin:

➤ Start with hiring specialists because they are quicker and easier to hire? ➤ Start with hiring a leader who will then manage the team?

Companies approach this dilemma differently — here’s what we think.

At NEWHR Recruiting, we frequently assist with assembling teams from the ground up. We generally advise to first hire a leader who, along with us, can assess the kind of team needed to achieve the business’s goals.

Hiring team members first risks employing individuals who may not be the right fit, leading to inefficiency while waiting to hire a leader.

Here’s why:

☝️ The decision of who to hire should be made by the person accountable for the outcome. Only a leader responsible for the team’s results can accurately assess the specialists needed to tackle the business’s challenges.

“We had a case where a company ignored our advice to first look for a CTO and then build the team around them. They hired developers first, and later, a CTO, who then changed the technical stack. This led to the newly hired team being replaced,” shares Ekaterina Veselkina, IT Recruitment Leader.

☝️ The risk of mismatch. A team hired without a leader might not gel well with them, potentially leading to disbandment and starting the hiring process over.

🧐 What about cases where a team has been working within a company for a long time and only the leadership changes?

😅 We say: that’s different! A well-integrated team that understands the business’s goals and tasks adapts to new leadership differently compared to a team of newcomers hired without a clear strategy.

“The smaller the team, the more important it is to match soft skills, work style, and worldviews,” says Ekaterina Veselkina.

☝️ The risk of the team being ineffective until a permanent leader is in place.

This risk often materializes if the company lacks a clear strategy, goals, and tasks. This situation is common in early-stage startups or when a company is developing a new function, entering new markets, or launching new products.

What if you urgently need manpower and can’t wait to find a leader?

💡 Outsource tasks while simultaneously searching for a leader who can assemble your in-house team.

💡 We don’t live in a perfect world, so you might need to hire performers first (and that’s OK). But remember the risks and don’t delay hiring a leader.

❤️ For team and leadership hiring, come to us at NEWHR Recruiting. Submit your request on our website or email us at contact@new.hr.



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