Talent acquisition, in particular hiring and retaining the right resources are essential for startup owners, as the future success of their venture heavily depends on it. Unlike larger companies that have hundreds of employees and a hierarchical organizational structure, startups operate in a completely different manner. A startup usually has less than 10 employees; their few team members make up their entire company. They also have a less hierarchical structure and a casual and flexible work culture. Recruiting the right people from the beginning is immensely crucial for startups; the right people from the onset will set you up for success as the business is dependent on these few creative and passionate employees.
In the race for recruiting top talent, startups compete with the other massive corporations and market leaders. These companies are most people’s dream workplaces and therefore it is equally important for startup businesses to attract the right talent and convince them to join the team. Due to the high stakes involved, a recruitment process can be a daunting job for startup owners. Review these top tips to help you recruit the best talent for your startup.
1. Plan Your Recruitment Needs
Your recruitment process should always be proactive and not reactive. This means that you should draft your recruitment strategy beforehand. Usually, startups spend more time planning for other aspects of their business such as the sales process and marketing and devote less time to draft a complete and clear plan for what talent they require and how they are going to hire them.
Just like a business plan or a marketing plan that helps you in achieving your goals, a recruitment plan is also essential for attracting the right talent. It gives you a clear vision about how many people you need in your team, what skills you require the most, what people you need to hire as a fulltime employee and which jobs you can hire freelancers or part-time employees for.
With a precise and clearly drafted recruitment plan, you can start looking for potential employees from early on rather than rushing into this later in the process. This reduces your chances of hiring the wrong people and increases your chances of success.
2. It Is Important Where You Advertise the Job
Startups often have a limited budget to spend on recruitment, which means options like advertising in the top local newspaper or television are off the table. Paying close attention to where you advertise your job is imperative.
It is not time-efficient or cost-effective to only rely on social media sites and massive job portals such as LinkedIn, because it is going to result in you receiving a massive number of resumes from all kinds of people, some of them who might only be searching jobs casually. It is going to be a tough and time-consuming job to sift through all the candidates and find the right talent.
You, therefore, need to be deliberate about where you post your job announcements. If you intentionally target specific groups of people that you identify as potential employees and be selective about advertising your job, then your recruitment process can become easy. This means that you will be more likely to find the right talent in less amount of time. You can do this in 2 ways: utilizing personal and employee networks and using recruitment software.
Involving your employees in the process of recruitment is a great practice. Your existing employees are familiar with the nature of work and the attitude and skills required to work in the environment, so they can be a better judge of who is more suited for the job. You can ask them to refer people from their networks or you can look for people in your own network. This can speed up your recruitment process and let you target specific people.
Another great way is to use recruitment software. There are many types of software that can be used for managing your recruitment process and streamlining your search. Recruitment software such as RecruiterBox, Workable, Bamboo HR, and Breezy HR can automate your process of job posting, reviewing resumes and streamlining candidates. Such software offers features such as applicant assessment, advanced candidate search, customizable reporting, analytics and interview management. They can be a smart choice for you if you select the right recruitment software.
3. Attitude over Experience
For startups, it is vital to hire people with the right attitude. Yes, skills and experience are important, too, but what is more important is that the candidate has the right temperament. You need individuals who can adapt to the flexibility of your nature of work, are good at teamwork, can think on their feet, and are eager to learn and grow with your startup.
This means that when you interview candidates, it is essential to give precedence to their attitude over their experience. You can evaluate a candidate’s attitude by asking thoughtful questions. Standard questions like, ‘What are your interests and hobbies?’, ‘What motivates you?’ and ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ are basic and anyone can answer them. You should ask questions that require them to think on their feet, such as:
“How do you define hard work?”
“What lessons have you learned at your previous employment and how you think you can use them here?”
“Do you remember a time when you completed a job that required you to learn new skills?”
“How do you define personal fulfilment and personal fulfilment?”
“What is the last thing that you think you failed at? If you have to do that thing again, how are you going to do it differently?”
“What is a professional experience you do not want to repeat?”
Such out-of-the-box questions can dig deeper about a person’s ability to think on their feet, their motivation, and their attitude. How a candidate responds to these questions hint towards how innovative and creative they are.
4. Treat Potential Employees like Customers
For a startup, employees are equally as important as customers and you should treat your recruitment strategy like you treat other strategies like sales and marketing. Just like how a business treats its customers with the utmost respect, potential candidates should also be treated in a similar manner. If you have a great applicant, then you should make all the necessary efforts to accommodate them, treat them with respect and impress them. This means that you might have to agree with their terms and conditions to show them how important they are and that you care about them.
It is important that who you are hiring understands how important they are for your business. This shows how caring and respectful you as an employer are. So just like ensuring a good customer experience is important, it is also essential to guarantee a please employee experience. As much time employee spend at work you should provide them with a comfortable and respectful environment to work in, so their motivation and morale remain high, and they enjoy the work they do. A happy and satisfied employee can do wonders for your startup and contribute to its success greatly!
5. Get the Candidate to know the team
Writing a detailed job description with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and expectations is a crucial part of every recruitment strategy. It gives the candidates a fair idea about what they are expected to do and the interview process. But it is not all. The recruitment process should also focus on engaging the candidates so they can get to the know the team. As this can have a great impact on the candidate’s ability to integrate with the team and develop a healthy union between them.
‘Job Shadows’ or ‘Shadow Days’ are a good way for candidates to know the team, where they are invited to the office for a day to casually meet the team members and experience how work is done on a daily basis. Startups should also conduct job shadows as the last stage of their recruitment process after a final interview is conducted and before an employment contract is reached. They can also conduct different team building activities between the candidates and employees in this stage to evaluate their team working skills.
After a candidate experiences the company culture firsthand, it gives startups a better chance to convince the potential employees about their decision. They can take this opportunity to impress them, address all their concerns and seal the deal.
Conclusion: Choose Your Employees Wisely
The most important tip for startup recruiting is to always begin with a clear recruitment strategy. You cannot attract the right talent if you do not plan ahead of time about what skills you require and how many people you need to hire. You need to be strategic and treat recruitment like every other important business process. So spend time planning and deciding your recruitment strategy because the success of your startup is heavily dependent on that.
Emily Williamson is a Technical Writer at Goodcore Software. It is a bespoke software development company in the UK. We focused on helping entrepreneurs, small, and medium businesses create competitive and winning software. I’m passionate about exploring and writing about technology innovation, mobile apps and software solutions.