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February 11, 2019

9 Tips for Sourcing the Right Talent for Your Startup

Aaron Vick

Aaron Vick
CSO/cicayda

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Looking at the startup success rate, it's a wonder anyone ever tries to open a business. Shark Tank may have planted many dreams of success in the minds of young entrepreneurs across the globe. But when nine out of 10 fail within the first five years, it's hard to shake reality.

The good news? Your odds can dramatically increase if you address this one critical issue - your people. In the following article, we'll be sharing some tips to ensure you've got the right team in place. Let's begin!

 

1. Clearly Define Who You Are

 

Your startup recruiter will thank you if you've already got a pretty clear vision of who you are and what you hope to accomplish with your business. This may sound simple at the outset, but it's a little more complicated when you start thinking about the competition. 

For example, let's say you're a shoe retailer. There are many out there. What makes you any different? 

Zappos had that very issue when they got into what had historically been an oversaturated market. They distinguished themselves through customer service. In short, they became the shoe retailer that went out of their way to achieve 100 percent customer satisfaction. 

In 2009, they sold for $1.2 billion. Pretty sure it worked!

 

2. Go Remote When and Where You Can

 

When recruiting startup talent, it helps if you can find incentives that aren't going to break the bank. Remote work is an attractive option more companies are embracing.

Employees who can work anywhere they want tend to be more productive and put in more hours. That's why more companies are offering flexible schedules built around the ability to work from home (or coffee shops, if that's your thing).

Obviously, not every position will be conducive to this style of working. But technology has made it easier to interface through channels like Slack, Trello, Skype, or Viber. 

Offer those options when and where you can. Your employees will thank you for it.

 

3. Make the Company Worthwhile

 

The best startups to work for will provide their employees with a sense of ownership. They won't be places where you just collect a paycheck. They'll be places that make the talent feel as if they are growing alongside the business.

How do you do that? Here are some ideas.

  • Surprise days (or half-days) off
  • Formally recognizing individuals for offering great ideas or going above and beyond the call of duty
  • Getting involved in worthy causes so the talent can see the impact they're having on others in the community

There are dozens of ideas you can put to work immediately that are either free or easily affordable to implement. And if you need any more ideas, here are some effective leadership skills to drive your startup's success.

 

4. Keep an Eye Out for Fans

 

Do you have a great product or service that has already attracted some fans? If so, do a little investigative work into the people who are identifying with the brand.

Working for a startup you love is exciting. Should any of these fans have a specific skill set, they could prove invaluable for moving your business to the next level. 

Thankfully, social media profiles are pretty liberal with the amount of information they reveal about potential candidates. That's true even when said candidates have security restrictions in place. 

See what they're good at and compare to the areas where you need some extra help. Then, consider a nice direct message explaining your position.

 

5. Build That Brand

 

The more thought you put into your brand, the easier it is to get the most qualified candidates to come to you. That means you need something worth saying and a consistent messaging platform for getting it out there. 

These days, your website with the help of paid social media advertising can get your brand in front of the right people within minutes. You control the amount you spend and the interests of the people to whom your ad appears.

Getting both a coherent message and presentation of said message is the type of targeted marketing that can implant your brand identity on those most susceptible to it. Use it to your advantage!

 

6. Keep Your People Happy

 

We all have bad days. This especially is true for the people who make your business possible. Stay attuned to the conversations that are being had, the posts that are being shared on their social media channels.

Make time to address any concerns your team may have, even when it's uncomfortable or requires a mea culpa. That's what leadership is about. 

 

7. Challenge Your Team

 

It's important to show your appreciation. But you can be appreciative without being satisfied. The moment a business starts to become satisfied with where it is is the moment it starts dying. 

Your best bet for challenging your team to do better is to incentivize it. There are tons of ways you can do this, some of which we've already mentioned. 

Extra money always helps. But so do benefits, vacation time, or taking to heart a cause important to them. 

 

8. Cultivate a Strong Online Presence

 

A strong social media presence is great. But finding the right people requires more. 

Keeping everything on Facebook or Instagram screams "small time" or "not interested in getting any bigger." How do you expect to attract top talent with that kind of outlook? 

Work to cultivate your personal online presence. That means your own website, blog, email list, etc. Doing so also makes you impervious to other platforms' algorithm whims.

 

9. Network, Network, Network

 

Go to events. Conferences, trade shows, job fairs, chamber of commerce functions, anything you can think of that might help your business grow and put you in front of the right people.

Also, reach out to people on social media who are following your competitors or companies in complementary industries. Either way, you're destined to get your job posts seen when the time comes to promote an opening.

 

Your Startup Lives or Dies by Its People

 

Make sure your startup efforts aren't in vain. Focus your resources on the people who can best help you grow, and the next five years will be a success, not a horror story.

And before you leave, check out these tips on how you can make your startup's life cycle last forever

Comments? You can contact me directly via my AdvisoryCloud profile.

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