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7 Best Ways to Hire For Startups

By Marga Salvador on January 1, 2016

Every recruiter is on the lookout for top talent for their companies. Startups are no different. The differentiating factor here is that you want to recruit people who will not only carry out daily operations but help establish the company at the same timeWith a limited basis as to what that company will grow to be, it’s difficult to meet employees’ expectations.

Just because you are starting up doesn’t mean trial and error is the best way to approach things. Be organized and structured. Have systems and processes. If they don’t work, tweak along the way. Startups will fluctuate. How then do you convince people to join the team? Here are 7 useful tips to get the ball rolling.

Use the networks you have

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It takes a certain type of drive to start a company and that drive comes from a person(s) with a network. Utilize the contacts of the company’s founders and consulting members. It’s a near guarantee that they know people who know the type of people you want working with you. While you don’t want to abuse or depend solely on these relationships, look at your own circle of people. Assess friends, previous colleagues or college buddies, maybe family members, and anyone you know or have come across who might be a good fit.

Referrals, referrals, referrals

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Tapping into your network for talent is a good start but it’s also a good idea to look into your network’s network. If you are looking for a finance associate and one candidate has all the right qualifications and the other has lesser credentials but has connections to banks and insurance companies, consider who will be more beneficial given the startups’s growing and ever-changing needs.

It might also do you good to set up referral program where pilot employees can refer people they know and if a lead is picked up, there’s an incentive like free lunch or gift certificate. Having referral partners is never a bad thing.

Lay out the table with your realities

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Once you do get someone to bite into the startup, don’t sell or promise what you don’t yet have. Be honest about your flaws and make them understand the realities of what they are potentially entering into. Most people have no idea what working at a startup means until they actually do it for themselves. This is also a way to gauge the people you are considering and their readiness or fit for the startup life. Some people require structure and process in order to function. Start ups have those too, it’s just that they’re more fluid structures and processes.

Offer your own perks

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You don’t have a big name like P&G or Microsoft and you can’t offer the salaries that they do. If you have applicants who are on the fence about you because of this, try offering your own perks like free breakfast Mondays or a stocked pantry. It’s surprising how much Filipinos will do for food. Get creative with your perks. You can also offer close up learning opportunities that they won’t find elsewhere. Startups are full of interesting people with experienced insights or new knowledge on offer. Entice prospects by balancing the “bad” with the interestingly good that only you can provide them with.

Widen your candidate pool

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Everyone wants the best talent but sometimes the best talent is not available to you, especially as the new kid on the block. Talent might be pulled over by a more established company or they might be on the other side of the world. While they are more difficult to manage, hiring remote employees gives you a skill set that you literally can’t find in your vicinity. By widening you candidate pool, you are making bigger talents available to you. If remote employees doesn’t work for you, consider international candidates who are willing to come to you. If you sell your startup well, they will come to you.

Connect with universities

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Hook the talent before they are even on the market. University job and career fairs are a great avenue to find fresh talent (and interns). Digging even deeper, you can approach student organisations whose advocacies or industries are in line with your start up. Students will be interested in companies that approach them. Look into talent communities and fresh graduate groups on social media. Again, use your network of college buddies if anything or anyone can come of it. Proactivity will get you the people you need.

Never stop recruiting 

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If you have 20 positions to fill and you’ve just signed off on the 19th one, don’t slow things down. You want to keep an active pool of potential employees for when the time comes for your 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and so on hires. Startups fluctuate and so will your number of employees. You don’t want to waste time rehashing resumes on file when you could be doing something more important to grow the company. Keep conversations going (but be transparent about the realities) and when the time comes, you could pick up more than just a new hire.

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