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How Should I Go About Recruiting When I’m Running A Startup And Need To Convince People To Join My Team?

Startups, think outside the box to recruit! At its inception, a startup is an idea, or a concept, which will evolve through time, shaped by the vision of its founders. Slowly, the idea will mature and blossom into a strong business if the target market, product or service, business model, financing, and team are well defined from the beginning.
(Author: Margaux Raab / Featured Image: Hannah Morgan)

You should take an agile approach to fine-tuning the target market, product or service, business model and financing. Solve any problems that are detected as soon as they arise. If the product is cluttered by useless features, get rid of them! Is the product targeting the wrong client? Change the target market right away!

Recruitment is usually more difficult for a startup due to its newcomer status, than for an already established company.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for a startup is building its team. Why? Simply because recruitment is usually more difficult for a startup due to its newcomer status, than for an already established company. It normally has to fight harder to attract top talent. You will have to sit down and decide what kind of expertise and candidate profiles you need, as well as how to communicate these needs and which recruitment strategy to implement.

Before starting this process, however, first and foremost you need to define your employer commitment, i.e. what is the startup going to offer and promise to its future employees. This includes considering the management style, career opportunities and working environment.

By defining the employer commitment, the startup will be able to write a description of the candidate it seeks that outlines the company culture and highlights the reasons for people to join. For instance, it will be possible to stress the real impact that an employee can have on the success of the startup. Younger generations are particularly receptive to this kind of message.

To recruit talent, be yourself and show what valuable experience, from both a professional and personal standpoint, your startup offers its employees.

The next step is communicating your job search to qualified applicants. There are many free job boards, social networks, as well as universities or specialized schools with graduates that have skillsets that match your hiring needs, where you can post a job advertisement. A more original and differentiated recruitment approach to take, is to design and implement an offbeat communication campaign that creates a buzz. Many companies have successfully followed this innovative recruitment approach including Michel & Augustin in the subway, Havas Boondoggle with its job offer posted on Airbnb, and Troccauris, which transforms its interviews into barter fairs.

Let’s look at this last example in more detail. Troccauris, an online community of barters, was in search of a head of business development. However, this young and relatively unknown startup needed a boost to increase its visibility and attract candidates. To help them, we first redefined their job description, making it more dynamic, attractive and reflective of its employer commitment. Once the job description had been published, we needed to preselect some candidates by doing preliminary phone interviews. A tip for this step is to list all technical and social skills required and then tick-off your list during the phone call to make sure candidates match most of them. Let’s get back to Troccauris. After the phone interviews, six candidates were selected to participate in a non-traditional recruitment selection process: a giant barter in the center of the city. Thanks to this atypical recruitment strategy, Troccauris’ founders were able to attract strong candidates and better assess each candidate’s sales and social skills.

To recruit talent, be yourself and show what valuable experience, from both a professional and personal standpoint, your startup offers its employees. And certainly do not hesitate to be creative in finding ways to capture the attention of prospective employees.


This article was first published in SILICON

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