The startup success rate isn’t what you’d call ‘hopeful’. Heck, almost two-thirds of them fail within a decade! Thankfully, there are plenty of steps you can take to improve your chances of coming out on top.
One of the best? Hiring high-quality employees. Convincing smart, skilled, conscientious, and dedicated people to join the team gives you an almighty edge.
Alas, when you’re competing against bigger, higher-paying companies for candidates, hiring for startups isn’t easy either! Are you struggling with this all-important endeavor and want some expert advice on how to attract top talent? You’re in the right place.
Today we’re going through 6 top tips on doing exactly that. Check them out, put them into action, and it won’t be long before you fill your team with the right recruits.
1. Know Your Perfect Candidate
Table of Contents
You can’t find something (or someone) if you don’t know what you’re looking for, right? You’re shooting from the hip, fumbling in the dark, and leaving too much up to chance. As a result, you’re more likely to hire the first person who applies, without giving enough consideration to their actual aptitude/fit.
That’s why we suggest taking the time to identify your ideal candidate. Similar to a buyer persona, you’re trying to create a mental image of the personality traits, interests, attitudes, and values of the people you’d like in the team. From there, you’ll stand a much better chance of recognizing them if/when they appear.
2. Seek Referrals
In the very early days of any business, it’s common for founders to join forces with friends and/or family members. Just look at mega-brands like Airbnb, Thrillist, and Ben & Jerry’s, all of which were created by close friends! The reason for this is simple:
Not only do you know and trust each other, but you also skip the usual laborious recruitment process. You can fill roles simply by scouring your social networks for fun, hard-working people who want something to sink their teeth into. And, if they’re already employed, the fact they like you makes it easier to convince them to quit and help you out instead!
The same goes for menial work.
Maybe you need extra hands on deck in the holiday season to pack boxes, ship products, or handle basic administrative tasks. Almost everyone has a cousin, sibling, or trusted acquaintance who wants to make a few bucks doing these types of jobs. Ask loved ones for referrals, consult with professional connections, and browse Startup Forums and it shouldn’t take long to fill a role.
3. Consider the Incentives
Ask yourself this:
Why should a talented, ambitious, hard-working individual choose to work for your startup over the myriad employment options at their disposal?
Remember, the best candidates are few and far between. The resulting competition for them is so fierce that you need compelling incentives to get them through the door! And, as a startup with limited resources, you might be unable to offer the same high-ticket rewards that established businesses can.
Be creative with your selling points, define them, and then shout them from the rooftops. Things like remote working, flexible hours, a stake in the company, mentorship from a reputable entrepreneur (that’s you!), and the promise of swift growth are all attractive propositions that other businesses can’t offer.
4. Nail the Job Spec
Taking a traditional approach to the startup hiring process? The quality of your job specification’s imperative to success. This is what’s going to attract peoples’ attention, form their initial impressions of your brand, and compel them to apply.
Start by including all the essential information. This includes:
- A brief description of your company, brand, mission, and ethos,
- A description of the role(s) for which you’re hiring, and
- A description of the ideal candidate (in terms of skillset, experience, qualifications, and personality).
With the basics covered, cast a critical eye over your work to see whether or not it contains any gender biases. The last thing you want is to put someone off because of a writing style, word selection, or general tone that’s tailored (unintentionally) toward men/women. Make sure it’s engaging, impartial, and devoid of bias for the best chance of attracting talented candidates of all creeds, colors, and backgrounds.
5. Ask Good Interview Questions
As you can imagine, the actual interview process is key when hiring for startups too. This is your chance to meet someone in person, compare who you see in front of you with what you read in their application, and assess their suitability for the role. However, with limited time, the questions you ask are crucial for making the most of the opportunity.
Want our advice? Avoid generic questions when you’re interviewing potential employees, such as “describe a time when you showed effective leadership skills”, or “tell me about your main weaknesses”. Instead, ask a-typical questions for which they wouldn’t have had a chance to prepare.
Remember, you’re looking at how they respond as well as what they say. Testing them with unusual questions (e.g. “how lucky are you, and why?”) will reveal how good they are at thinking on their feet, responding under pressure, and how creative they are to boot. All told, you’ll come away with a much better understanding of their capabilities.
6. Do a Background Check
This is especially important if your business handles sensitive information like credit card information or financials. Doing a background check on candidates helps you avoid anyone with a record who might jeopardize your employees’ and customers’ safety and security and your business reputation. The good news is that doing background checks isn’t as laborious or expensive as it was before with reliable third-party background checkers offering their services to companies.
Remember These Tips on Hiring for Startups
There’s no denying it: startup success is hard to come by nowadays. With huge amounts of competition, economic challenges, and technological shifts to navigate, you need everything from your concept to its execution to be perfect. All things considered, it’s impressive that so many new businesses survive as long as they do!
Are you in the process of starting a business? Well, bringing bright, diligent, and committed people onto the team is sure to make a difference. With any luck, the tips on hiring for startups in this article will help you do exactly that.
If you’re hungry for more information on similar business topics, browse ‘startup’ on the website now.