How to Hire Top Talent for Your Startup

July 27, 2012

9:16 am

Recruiting is crucial for startups looking for longevity and success in their respective industries. If your company is going to expand and prosper, first you have to ensure you’re attracting top talent to help it along.

Yet locating the best individual for the job isn’t something that can be done overnight. It takes a complex process of tapping into various career and industry networks to locate professionals who will be the best bet for keeping your company afloat. Check out these tips for hiring top talent for your startup.

Establish yourself as a great employer. If you want people to want to work for you, this is a critical first step in the recruitment process. Make sure your company isn’t skimping on employer branding by ensuring all websites are up to date and you’re active on social media. Aside from your employer image, it’s also important to remember that employees value company culture, flexibility, benefits, and other basic aspects that make people feel comfortable in their jobs.

Know the position. Be able to answer thoroughly when someone asks what your open position entails, including the skills and abilities necessary to be successful in it. And remember, it’s important to know not just what you want in a candidate, but what you don’t want in a candidate as well.

Get existing employees involved. Ask employees if they can make any referrals or recommendations, or allow them to help in the interview process to gauge if candidates would fit in well. Consider leveraging the power of their individual social media accounts, too – you can reach a whole new network just by asking an employee to post a Facebook status about your job opening.

Utilize social media. We’ve already mentioned social media as important for employer branding, but it can also be used to locate candidates. Post jobs on Twitter, and use relevant hashtags to get the word out. Consider using services that help you manage and track social media recruitment – ShinyNeedle and Path.to are both great options.

Get out of the office. Attend networking events and career fairs to start conversations with people who are looking to apply their skills at places like yours. Meeting potential employees in person first can help you gauge their enthusiasm and narrow your search.

Place value on culture. Chances are, you’re looking for candidates who are like the employees you’ve already got. Ask what they read, what organizations they’re in, and how they like to spend their free time to locate places where you might find compatible candidates.

Understand which techniques work for you. Track your recruiting process over time to fine-tune it and work out any kinks. Track where you originally connected with employees and candidates – networking events, social media, job boards, etc. – and over time you’ll be able to see which strategies work best for you, making recruiting in the future much easier.

Recruiting can seem like a daunting task, but it’s one of the most important elements to keep your startup afloat. Although you may not get your process right the first time, over time you’ll learn what you’re looking for and where to find it. Good luck!

What are some recruiting strategies you employ at your startup? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

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Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Find Heather on Google+.

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