November 29, 2013
You need the best people on the ground floor of your startup. Unfortunately, most startups don’t have the deep pockets needed to ensure they snare the best people. What you need to do is hire smart and, most importantly, frugally.
If you don’t, the entire future of your startup company could be at stake. According to research from Startup Genome, premature scaling is the number one cause of death for new companies. One aspect premature scaling is hiring the wrong people. For 46 percent of small businesses, new hires end up failing within the first 18 months.
If you make the choice to scale your startup team, you need skilled, qualified, and well-fitting employees. Even a small mistake in the human capital you choose to build your company with can be disastrous to a business just starting to find its feet. The problem is that hiring great people can be expensive, and this Catch-22 means the companies who need great talent the most are the ones least likely to be able to afford it.
Essentially, you need to become a discount shopper when it comes to top-tier talent. Here are four affordable options to help you scoop up top talent, with no extreme couponing needed:
Socialize on Social Media
There’s a reason 94 percent of recruiters are using social media in their hiring efforts. First off, social media is ubiquitous in today’s media universe. Turn on the TV and you’ll see hashtags at the bottom of the screen; flip over to CNN and you might even hear an anchor reading tweets or Facebook messages. In fact, eight out of 10 Millennials are a member of at least one social network.
The second reason social media is great for hiring is the affordability of connecting with candidates in the social sphere. You don’t need an expensive applicant tracking system (ATS), and you don’t have to pay recruiters big bucks that your startup company doesn’t have.
Instead, you can use social channels to attract the right candidates — anything from 140-character job postings on Twitter to visual Pinterest campaigns showcasing your company culture. Social media offers a large candidate pool while helping startups keep hiring costs down.
Cut Down Time-To-Hire With Video Interviews
Another aspect of the hiring process driving up costs is how long it takes to fill an open position with a great new employee. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, it takes about 29 days to fill an open position at a small business. As a startup founder or business leader, however, you know hiring decisions don’t come lightly. If you’ve decided you need someone, you probably don’t have a month to wait around for the perfect candidate.
Video interviews can be an affordable option to cut down on the traditional hiring process. Instead of spending upwards of 30 minutes on the phone with the wrong candidate (leading to almost 30 days of hiring!), you can perform a one-way video interview. In fact, research by the Aberdeen Group found you could watch 10 one-way video interviews in the time it takes to complete just a single phone screen.
One-way video interviews allow candidates to answer an employer’s written questions on video. These video answers can then be viewed any time, meaning you can move on immediately from candidates who are all wrong for the job. This can save you untold hours in the hiring process, leaving you more time to connect with the best talent.
Have Your Workforce Work For You
The right person for your open position may be a lot closer than you think. According to CareerXRoads, employee referrals are the number one source of external hires. These candidates are actually three to four times more likely to be hired than outside applicants. It certainly makes sense, since current employees are your best resource and can become your most vocal brand ambassadors.
The networks of current employees might be just the low-cost, high-quality talent pool you need. This is why it’s smart to share your company goals and open positions with everyone on your team. Even if you’re a small-scale startup, you should begin your employee referral program early. Offer employees who refer great talent monetary rewards or company culture perks, and put your current workforce to work helping you hire the best.
It takes a creative mindset to become an entrepreneur. You saw a market and an opportunity, and you seized it. Don’t be afraid to go off-book when it comes to hiring the best people. You might not have the deep pockets of your more-established competition, but you’re offering candidates an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something exciting.
Depending on your industry or the position for which you’re hiring, think outside the box to attract great talent. Some companies have offered to use video games as an interview, while others have challenged interns to get creative on mobile app Draw Something.
Whatever you decide, make sure the creativity of your idea also helps you to understand something valuable about potential candidates. Don’t just choose something because it’s wacky and low-cost — make sure your creativity is in service to finding the talent you need.
Your company doesn’t need deep pockets in order to attract great talent. You can pinch pennies with these low-cost solutions and still find the best people for your startup.
What do you think? What are some low-cost startup hiring solutions you’ve used? Share in the comments!
Guest author Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.
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