Hi its better to hire a Senior Manual QA with some automation experience and also this person to want to develop his/her automation skills. Most commonly Seniors manual QA's have an automation experience.
For a company which is planning to growing its QA team it is an important thing its first engineers in the company to have a strong technical and soft skills.
According to Agile the whole team is responsible for quality of the project including developers.
My suggestion about Agile processes to set up a serious tool like Jira and Confluence. It costs $20 monthly up to 10 users. This will help you to track stories, performance of the team and to lead a documentation accessible to everyone.
Quality Assistance instead of QA engineers
in Atlasssian I would like to mention that they implemented a really serious development process.
I had a chance to met an Atlasssian developer and to discuss this with him. Yes developers writes their test but first of all they create a functionality or testable increment after that they have a code review, then they create tests which has a code review as well. So for such a structure they will need from some people in the beginning with really ninjas skills to implement it and to be responsible for quality.
In my view and experience a Senior QA and clear agile process would be a reasonable and effective solution.