How to Recruit Top Talent When Expanding Your Startup

One of the reasons that people love the idea of working at a startup is that they can make more money than if they get in line at a 100-year old company.

While this is a great benefit, many people avoid startups because they don’t always see the potential of a startup expanding. If you’ve conquered that hurdle and are now learning how to recruit top talent for your expansion, you need to know what talented people want.

Here are five ways to ensure that you can attract and recruit talent when the time comes.

1. Clean Up Your Profile

Before you’re able to recruit the best talent around, you need to ensure that you’re showing off what a great employer you are. When great talent comes knocking, rest assured that they’ll have searched your business online, visited you on LinkedIn and have seen what people are saying.

If you have an outdated website with out of focus or stock photography, you should work on fixing that up. Make sure that you show the talent that you’re serious about being a leader in the future of your industry with a nice looking mobile site. If your site looks clunky or weak on mobile devices, you’ll look outdated.

Search your startup on search engines and see what comes up. Claim your profile on business directories and work to get more reviews so that you look good when you’re searched for.

You should also massage your social media profiles. You should have a presence on every major site with matching contact information, the same avatar, and verification if it applies.

Once you’ve cleaned up, you’re ready to attract talent.

2. Decide Must-haves and Nice-to-haves

You need a list of characteristics that will describe the kind of talent you’re looking to attract. Create a list of traits and talents that your ideal candidate would have and don’t hold back.

After you’ve got your wish list together, take a second pass on it and scrutinize it. There should be a list of traits or characteristics that are absolutely necessary for the job. There are going to be another set of traits that would be nice to have but wouldn’t interfere with doing the day to day work.

Limit your search to only candidates who have the must-have talents and skills that you’ve put together. Use the “nice-to-haves” to start whittling down from people who are qualified for the job.

Use this list to describe what you’re looking for to potential recruiters. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, recruiters won’t be able to help you find the right people.

While you want people to come to your team fully-formed, you need them to have a demonstrated willingness to learn. If they have a varied and complex educational background, you know that they love to learn. While they might not be an expert today, they will aim to become one tomorrow.

If you hire people who are too rigid in their approach, you’ll struggle to get them to fit in at your company.

3. Define Your Culture

Speaking of fitting in, you need to define what your workplace culture is.

In order to be able to bring people into your world of specialized language, abbreviations, and inside jokes, you need to know who you are. Every workplace has a slightly different culture and startups are waking up to the understanding that a culture fit is as important as a technical fit.

Start by assessing who your demographic is. Think about what drives you. If your startup is aimed at helping low-income or minority-owned businesses, be upfront about that.

Rather than trying to fit your round peg into a square hole, own your startup’s goals. Define what it looks like for the company to have a successful day, week, and year. This way you can get an idea of what everyone should be doing on a daily basis.

If you hire a recruiter, they’re going to ask questions about your company’s culture. You need to be able to clearly define it.

4. Ask the Right Questions

When interviewing, you need to be asking the right questions to get the right answers. Don’t ask questions where you’ll get a simple answer that you’d expect. If you can answer the questions you’re asking too easily, you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to find interesting candidates.

However, avoid those silly riddles that some startups have been fond of in recent years. Don’t ask your potential candidates to answer whether a shark or a bear would win in a fight. These kinds of questions will turn off serious candidates and spread the word that you don’t take things seriously.

When you’re dealing with a recruiter, they’re going to want to know what you’re asking potential recruits. They only get a commission if they send you someone who you can hire. Otherwise, you’re both wasting your time.

5. Offer Competitive Packages

New recruits will start asking about compensation and benefits pretty soon after you start speaking with them. Serious talent will have a clear idea of what they’re worth and what it would take them to commit to your company.

Ask colleagues what they’re offering to potential new recruits. Make a note of the things that your current staff is happy about and what they want to see more of. When you add something new, be sure to extend it to current employees first. This will allow you to test its efficacy and also to keep them from being jealous of new hires.

Learning How To Recruit Top Talent Takes Time

You’re going to hire a few people who don’t perform quite as well as you’d like. Don’t beat yourself up when you do. Use each hire as a way to help you learn how to recruit top talent in the future.

To ensure that you’re ready to lead your startup to success, check out my latest guide.