08 Jan How Startup Recruiting Differs from Other Hiring Scenarios

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Recruiting top talent is not easy, but recruiting for a startup is downright difficult. Founders are typically busy handling all aspects of the company – from marketing to finance to sales to hiring for various roles within the new organization. But the CEO of a startup does not typically have the background and knowledge in human resources necessary to make the right hiring decisions. Nor does he have the time to devote to the process.

Obstacles to Startup Recruiting

One of the main obstacles to startup recruiting is that oftentimes salaries and benefits are less than those offered by larger companies. The company is just getting off the ground and is still in early stages of creating public awareness. However, with the right funding and business plan, startups can typically offer very competitive salaries along with perks unheard of in corporations. Pitching flexibility, like work-from-home possibilities; allowing a pet dog in the office; or permitting casual dress codes can all be options that will encourage talent that might balk at a lower salary.

Many job-seekers perceive a risk in startup roles. Stability in a career used to be a major concern among workers, but as the Millennials enter the market place, the idea of one company for life is no longer the goal. Millennials focus on their own development and have no problem with changing positions – within the same company or with another organization – as long as they continue to grow personally and professionally. However, with the job market still shaky, top talent may not be as easily swayed to leave a “secure” position to join a startup. The success of the company should be mapped out in concrete steps to alleviate their fears.

Steps to Startup Recruiting

The first step in recruiting is networking. Seek out individuals in the field by leveraging your personal network and referrals. Make new contacts regularly and keep track of everyone you contact. In order to successfully hire the right people for your startup, you should keep the following tips in mind:

1. Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to enable transparency and collaboration for your team during the hiring process. The initial goal is to map all potential candidates. Keep track of each contact’s:

d.LinkedIn profile
e.Email, if available
f.Links to other personal sites, such as Twitter, blog, and even Facebook
g.Any additional contact information, such as phone number or address
h.Notes, such as when you contacted them, who referred you, or skills they possess

2. Search LinkedIn for the skills and roles you seek. Be versatile in your search keywords. For instance, if you are seeking a Javascript Developer, you might wish to also use terms such as Software Engineer, Web Developer, and Front End Developer. Quickly scan each profile and decide if the individual either has the right qualifications or perhaps has connections who do.

3. Make contact immediately. Try to find a direct email address, as individuals may not access LinkedIn regularly or forget to reply to emails received there. Here’s a good blog post with tips on how to engage passive candidates: http://www.socialtalent.co/blog/passive-candidate-approaches

4. Twitter can be a great tool if you already have an active account and dedicated followers. Follow potential talent, even if they are already employed. Interact with your followers. You never know who might know someone who fits your needs.

5. Discover local candidates or professionals in the field and introduce yourself. Invite them out to coffee to discuss the industry with them. Someone who is already established in the community can help you understand trends, learn about key figures, and identify popular events or conferences.

Recruiting for startups may be a difficult task, but doing it properly is worth the effort. The success of the organization is dependent upon hiring the right people for each role. Once you have those roles filled, you can start building a potential client base and recognition for your product or services.

Laurie Esposito

Laurie Esposito Harley is a professional writer with experience in the HR and recruitment industries. She was the Editor-in-Chief with HR & Talent Management and was a Community Manager of the organization's LinkedIn group of over 400,000 members. Laurie is currently a Community Manager for HR Hard Talks and the Content Development Manager for Acquisition Intelligence. She is a published author, former Community Columnist with her local newspaper, and sometimes poet. Visit my site @ laurieharley.com