When you’ve launched your own small startup, it doesn’t take long for you to realize that you can’t do everything all by yourself. There are just too many things that have to be done quickly. You can’t be everywhere at once, and there aren’t that many hours during the day.
You need the help of some other talented people if you want your new business to succeed and grow. But startups are typically under-resourced, so you may be at a disadvantage when competing with larger companies for talented workers. You simply just can’t match the money and perks that your bigger competitors can offer as standard. You need to recruit new members quickly to compete.
Still, you can’t give up on trying to land competent hires, and there are ways that you can try to help you get the workers you need.
Targeted emails don’t really work well for new recruits when it comes to finding top talent, and neither do LinkedIn messages. But you can use these alternative methods, such as hiring recruiters or leverage various social media channels to find job seekers.
Start with Your Own Network
You have your own network of friends and family, don’t you? Use them. Make sure that each and every one of them know that you’re launching a startup and that you’re looking for people to hire. Chances are that you may have people in your circle who know someone that may be both qualified and interested in your company. Make sure you communicate with these contacts regularly through email and social network platforms so they’re constantly reminded of your ongoing search for new employees.
Use Your Hidden Network
Do you have investors and stakeholders? If you do, then reserve at least an hour with each one so you can examine their networks for potential hires. Go through their whole Facebook and LinkedIn connections and check out the people who may fit in well with your company. Your investor can then introduce you to their contact and together you can pitch a position with the potential hire.
Once you have your first employees, use their connections as well. They too may have friends and family that will be willing to come aboard your startup. Help them spread the words for you by creating compelling ‘example sentences’ about your startup.
Use Social Media to Hire
You can do this with your network and the networks of your investors and the first few employees. They may have friends and family who can spread the news about your startup search for workers among their own circles.
In fact, what you want is for news of your company and your search for employees to go viral. So aside from social media channels, and Facebook groups, you may also make use of Slack channels and subreddit trends. Create a standout message about your startup and spread the words across your network.
Don’t Forget About Offline Meets
Try to go to various events and parties where people you need to meet are going to be present. These are the industry insiders and the ones who may be interested in your technology or your industry. It doesn’t have to be a purely business event either. Lots of people get together for sports and other hobbies, and golf remains a very effective connector in various industries.
Develop a Recruitment Process
As news of your startup’s need for new employees spread out, you should then get inquiries and applications through email, Facebook, and LinkedIn. When you have this pool of possible hires, you need a smooth process so you can evaluate each one properly so you can hire them in the end.
You can’t just hurry this process up, even if you have positions that you direly need to fill. You should still have a tracking system to properly categorize and evaluate potential candidates. At the very least, you want to have a professional system in place that can prevent silly mistakes that put your company in a bad light.
You want to schedule meetings and interviews with candidates properly, without having meet times overlap. You should be reminded about scheduling follow-up interviews. You don’t want to reach out again to a candidate who has already refused your offer (or whom you found unsuitable for your company).
Keep in mind that recruitment isn’t just at the start of your business. It will always be part of your regular operations. A candidate who declines your offer now may change their mind in just a few months, so you should have careful records to determine when you should reach out again to potential candidates. In addition, in the future, you may have a new role opening up in your company. People who didn’t match your needs a few months ago may have the skills the new role needs.
So, communicate clearly and in a tone that matches your brand identity. Be quick with follow-ups, and make sure you notify candidates about your decisions even if you don’t hire a person for the time being. By being courteous enough to tell candidates that you have settled on another worker, at least you don’t leave them hanging.
When you have a professional recruitment setup in place, it helps make sure that you make a great first impression on your new hires and even on the rest of the candidates. This is why you should have just as high a standard for your recruitment process as the standards for your products and services.
It’s true that using recruiting agencies for hires can be expensive, and that it’s probably more cost-effective to keep your recruitment in-house. But some agencies may offer to only get paid if hiring is completed. This is better than paying agencies for going through candidates when you don’t hire any one of them. Remember, a recruiter can have a larger network then you do, it will save you time by letting them do the hiring for you. Seek a recruiter that knows your industry, this will yield a higher chance of them knowing people who know your type of works. Recruiters get a fresh supply of resumes on a daily bases.
Close Your Recruitment with Investors and Industry Contacts
In some cases, you may want to have senior investors and industry stalwarts on hand to help convince a job applicant to accept your offer. This is certainly true when you’re rather young and you’re trying to land a more senior person to an opening you have. By having other older people around you, these senior applicants will feel more reassured about your startup, your future, and even about who you are as a boss.
In fact, do this for even younger hires. If you’re taking on young employees and you’re somewhat young yourself, some employees may not realize that your startup is a serious enterprise. It may feel like some sort of school process, or like your industry version of a garage band. By having no-nonsense senior investors on hand, you emphasize that you’re in this business for real and that they’re joining a professional outfit with professional workers.
What you and everyone else at your company need to realize is that recruitment and hiring is everyone’s concern. It’s not just your job just because you’re the owner. Every stakeholder needs to be on the lookout for great hires. Every new employee that comes in should also be able to bring in their own networks for you to use when you’re in need of talent.
Your first employees will have a tremendous impact on the future of your new startup, so you have to be careful. New growth takes time, spend effort in finding the best, as a single employee in a small team can be the crucial difference between success and failure.
As Gary Vaynerchuk said, “…hiring is guessing, firing is knowing.”