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Hiring Strategies for Early-stage Startups

Entrepreneurs of early-stage startups have to constantly deal with challenges such as streamlining the process, arranging the workplace — and, let’s not forget, hiring new talent. When a company is fairly new, it may not have the reputation or the ability to offer high salaries and benefits to attract the best talent. Moreover, the cost of a bad hire for startups is much higher than for larger companies — due to the firm’s small size, a new employee has a bigger chance to leave an impact and contribute to the success or failure of the whole organization. For these reasons, hiring the right people is arguably the most important task during the early stages and well beyond.

However, recruiting the best talent for your team is easier said than done. You want to hire people who can bring the company’s goals to life, so you can’t just hire anybody. Luckily, there are still efficient strategies to gain a competitive edge and encourage top candidates to join your startup. In this article, we listed the most useful tips for employers looking to hire the right people for their early-stage startups.

Tip #1: Create a Strong Employer Brand

A strong employer brand helps you attract, hire, and retain the best talent, which is extremely important for early-stage startups. During the early stages, startups often invest most of their resources in business developments, neglecting the importance of building their reputation. Once your startup grows, however, and you start experiencing talent shortages, you would wish that you started working on your employer branding from the very beginning. Statistics show that 84% of job seekers say a company’s reputation as an employer is important when deciding where to apply. Moreover, 75% of them consider their reputation even before applying for a job.

An employer branding is “the honest story of ‘life as an employee’ inside your organization, as told by the employees in parallel with the company.”

Talent Brand Alliance

When developing your employer brand, you should start with your career page and make sure it showcases your organizational culture and your values. When done right, a career page not only attracts the right candidates but also tells your startup’s story. Social media can help you increase your brand awareness by showcasing your company’s identity to the public. Successful employers use social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to create content about life at the company by sharing celebrations, stories, and testimonials to attract potential candidates.

Tip #2: Engage with Passive Candidates

In today’s competitive hiring environment, businesses — especially startups — can no longer expect the best candidates to simply walk in. Top talents are usually employed already, and they might not be actively looking for a new job. And when you are building a startup, you don’t want to wait around for applicants to apply — you need to be proactive. To hire effectively at early stages, businesses need to activate passive potential by sourcing and engaging employed candidates on social media. Some employers may face challenges when encouraging candidates to leave their job at a larger company to come work for an early-stage startup. Small companies may not be able to offer all the perks and benefits that come with a big company. So how can an employer attract top talents?

Aside from high salaries, candidates would often consider benefits such as flexible working hours, work-from-home options, wellness programs, and unlimited paid vacations. To attract passive candidates, consider their needs and goals. For instance, candidates may have a family, so they would need to look at how a new job can affect their lives. Consider offering a flexible working schedule or family benefits that show candidates you will invest in them and not just their professional career.

Tip #3: Interview in an Innovative and Unique Way

The interview stage is the basis of the recruitment process for any business or startup. However, since you are recruiting for an early-stage startup, try to avoid mundane interviews with standard questions. Instead, try to put some innovation and uniqueness into your hiring process.

The personality traits and cultural fit of a new hire are especially important for small companies. Startup employees work closely with one another, so when interviewing your potential hires, pay special attention to finding the common language with your current employees. To uncover candidates’ hidden traits, ask authentic questions such as “What would your best friend say they like the most/least about you?” or “What is your biggest fear?” By asking these kinds of questions, you will have a better understanding of the candidates’ personalities that are otherwise neglected during traditional interviews.

Another efficient way to evaluate the candidate is through engaging assignments. Give them a task that could be used to judge their knowledge and soft skills. In addition, many HR and marketing experts suggest involving your current employees in the interview process to check whether an applicant is the right fit for the job.

“By meeting with all the employees that a candidate would be working with, both the candidate and the current employees are able to see if they would fit in well with the team.”

Nicole Stelmar, digital marketing specialist at Inseevin San Diego

Tip #4: Seek Help from a Recruitment Agency

Early-stage startups rarely have HR departments simply because they cannot afford them just yet. The recruitment work often falls to the CEO, operation director, or anyone who has the time. If you are not ready to pay for an internal team, it makes sense to consider partnering with a recruitment agency.

A recruitment agency acts as a bridge that connects the employees with the employer. When partnering with recruitment firms, startups are more likely to find higher-quality candidates faster. They can pass on the manual and time-consuming work to agencies and focus on their core business instead. If you are thinking about working with a recruitment agency, consider Employa as we provide high-quality recruitment services at a lower rate.

Employa is an AI-driven tech recruitment agency that finds potential candidates, advertises open positions, and selects the most suitable resumes. Employa Agency provides hiring services for companies looking to hire tech professionals quickly and at a lower rate. Our AI-driven tech helps find and hire top talent for a mere 10% fee. It also significantly reduces your time-to-hire as it takes just seconds to find qualified candidates with our AI-powered engines.

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