Rent Fast, Hire Slow: The New Model for Startup Efficiency

November 24th, 2023

The Old Model: Hire Slow, Fire Fast

In the world of startups, people used to say hire slow, fire fast. Take your time and be ultra selective when you hire. Only hire a full-time employee when you have a clearly defined role. Hire slow. Then, if and when you realize that things aren’t working out, entrepreneurs must be decisive and quick to act by terminating projects and staying lean. Fire fast.

But the “hire slow, fire fast” mantra very recently fell out of fashion with startups. Why? A slow hire means your company may lose out on candidates to companies that are hiring faster and that you may suffer from analysis paralysis, or the “inability to make a decision due to overthinking a problem.” 

So the model changed to hire fast, fire faster. After all, you can’t know how a candidate will perform until they’re in the position anyways, so why wait to make a decision? Hire fast. Pull the trigger now, and if it doesn’t work out, cut your losses before it can affect the company in an adverse way. Fire faster. 

To quote VC Mark Suster at GRP Partners:
“A 70% accurate decision made quickly and based on sound principles is better than a 90% decision made after careful consideration. The startup entrepreneur knows that they’re going to be wrong often. They’re flexible and willing to admit when they’re wrong. They don’t create a culture of punishment for mistakes.”

“Hire Slow, Fire Fast” vs. “Hire Fast, Fire Faster”

The truth is, there’s likely merit to both models – “hire slow, fire fast,” or “hire fast, fire faster” – depending on what type of entrepreneur you are, your management style, your personal philosophy, and the kind of organization you want to build. Being methodical about hiring the right person for an open role and being patient makes a lot of sense. If you’re worried about the competition swooping in and stealing a fantastic candidate from under you, then being swifter in your hiring might make sense.

We’re not here to say which model is right for you, but at 10x Management, we’ve offered a third hiring model for over ten years to countless startups that has helped them find amazing talent and allowed them to get work done quickly: rent fast, hire slow.

The New Model: Rent Fast, Hire Slow

By renting one of 10x’s vetted contractors or teams, you have immediate access to high-level talent for various needs: one-off projects, retainers, part-time work, full-time contingencies, etc. 

You tell us about the project, or the work that you need done, and we quickly determine the right member (or team) on our vetted roster for the role. Rent fast. While you’re getting important work done quickly with vetted, rented talent, you can take the time necessary to contemplate full-time candidates – if that’s your goal – and make sure you hire the right person for the position. Not because you’re rushing, or you’re afraid that the competition will swoop in, but because they’re the right fit (culturally and skillswise). Hire slow.

Renting provides you faster access to talent as opposed to full-time searches that can take as much as (or more than) 6 months before a new hire walks through the door. We’ve placed talent on various projects in as little as 48 hours with forward-thinking companies. 

While full-time hires are a long-term commitment for organizations that require benefits, paid-time-off, severance, perks, training, and upskilling, renting talent is flexible and limits those long-term concerns. Severance can be a major cost. McKinsey is currently in the midst of laying off 2,000 employees, and employees can get up to 24 months of severance pay.

While hiring fast may have its merits – quick, decisive action and a potential leg up on the competition – hiring slow has some major advantages as well – focusing on long-term success, getting it right the first time, and only hiring when a need arises to stay lean. Per Forbes:

“To hire slow means to hire with intention, not reaction. When you have a job to fill, you shouldn’t simply replace the last employee who held the position or pull up an old job description template. Get really clear on what your needs and expectations are. Write a clear job description and define the skills and attributes required for long-term success, not just the immediate issues at hand.”

The rent fast, hire slow model allows the best of both worlds of the hire slow vs. hire fast debate. It allows you to “hire with intention,” be patient and methodical about finding the right person for an open role, but it also allows you to stay competitive, move quickly and move projects forward if your competition is embracing a hire fast strategy.
There’s a reason we’ve been so successful for over a decade in the “renting talent” space. We’re providing forward-thinking companies immediate access to some of the best contract tech talent in the world to move quickly and get work done. When you need to move fast to stay ahead of the competition but still want to be patient and methodical about the people that you’re bringing on board to represent your organization, 10x can help. That’s what we mean when we say rent fast, hire slow.