6 Tips on How to Recruit Employees Effectively for Startups

By Pol Arellano

Congratulations — you are now the proud owner of a start-up! And now that you’re standing in the middle of your brand-new office, you notice a lack of something quite integral. Something your start-up needs.


But before you scramble to post your “now hiring” ad on Craigslist or Jobstreet, let’s brush up on the best ways to recruit employees. Yes, there are stellar ways to hire people. So don’t be hasty. There’s an effective method to the recruitment madness, after all.

Here are 6 ways to make sure that your employee recruitment strategies are on point so you can get the right people to propel your start-up forward:


1.Make sure that you’re ready to hire new people.

Yes, your office is looking pretty bare right now, but ask yourself — would your business really benefit from a room full of people with little or nothing to do? Absolutely not.

Rather than hiring for all the job titles in your org chart immediately, a good place to start is to think about the list of crucial employees you need to have right away.

Of course, this does not mean that you’ll be disregarding your organizational chart altogether. But knowing which roles take priority over others can save you from hiring too fast for positions that can still remain unfilled for the time being.

We’ve all heard stories of start-ups folding even before they make a mark in the industry because they’ve already hemorrhaged financially, and that’s not what any smart businessman wants.

Figure out which types of roles are can’t-do-without from those that are can-do-without-for-now.

Once you’re sure of the list of people you need to hire, allow enough time to peruse through hundreds of resumes, talk to them on the phone, screen them, and meet with promising candidates.

Remember, doing this takes a considerable chunk of your time, so making sure that it’s part of your daily to-do list is quite important. If you’re invested in finding the right person for your startup, you’ll make time.


2. Foster a positive relationship with applicants — even when you’re not currently hiring.

Did you know that on the average, a single job post can bring in about 250 resumes on your doorstep (or in your inbox)? That’s a lot of resumes!

Research shows that only about 4-6 people out of the hundreds get a call for an interview. And only 1 gets a job offer! So you’re left with hundreds of (most likely) unexplored resumes which may lead you to your ideal employee.

Make sure that you devote proper time to reach out to applicants who made an effort to submit their resumes to you.

A simple thank you email can make candidates remember you in a positive light, and in case you would need to revisit these resumes at a later time, you’d have better chances of interacting with top applicants (and hopefully, getting them on your team faster).

Sample email:

Good day, [applicant’s name]! Thank you for sending in your application for a position at [company name]. We sincerely appreciate your interest in our company.

We will screen all resumes as promptly as possible. We will carefully consider your application during the initial screening and will contact you if you are selected to continue in the recruitment process.

However, please feel free to reach out to us at any point if you’d like to follow up on your application. We appreciate the gentle nudges that come our way!

Again, thank you, [applicant’s name]!


3. Be transparent with what you need (and who you are)

Job descriptions for startups should strive to be clearly stated. As your company has a different range of needs that may or may not change, you would have to be upfront about them all with your candidates.  

If you’d like to find the best employee to work with your team, you need to let them in on all the punches — so he or she can properly roll with all of them.

Expectations should be properly set so that you can avoid losing top quality talent.

Be honest about what the job’s responsibilities are and its daily toils — or how these could change in a short span of time so that your new employees can prepare themselves for the role (and be excited about it!).

The last thing you want is for them to burn out or feel overwhelmed two weeks in.

Everything that you put up on recruitment websites is a reflection of who your are as a company, as well as what your culture is. Be transparent about that from the get-go and your chances of finding the right person to take on the job will be easier.


4. Don’t make the application process long and complicated.

Yes, it’s important to get as much information about applicants in so you can review them thoroughly, but that doesn’t mean that you have to make the application process an 85-minute ordeal. That’s a no-go.

That’s a sure-fire way to turn off top talent. So the best strategy to keep applicants eager to apply is to keep things simple.

Let’s face it, half or 51% of currently employed workers are still actively seeking or are considering to explore other jobs. And most of these workers browse applications while at work.

Hence, if your application form is complex and lengthy, ideal candidates won’t have the time to continue the application process. And you’re probably missing out on great employees from joining your team because of this.


5. Emphasize on your strengths

As a startup owner, when you get ideal people on your side, it won’t be hard for you to move these deserving employees up to higher positions.

And career growth is something that appeals to all employees. Which is something that you would need to stress in your job postings and interviews.

Opportunities for career growth ranks high among other important factors for accepting a position, together with a good salary, a healthy work-life balance, as well as company culture and values.

In fact, according to a statistic, growth opportunities matter most to Millennials, followed only by retirement benefits, and the company culture.

There are 3 things that most matter to Millennials in the companies they work for

These three things are 1) growth opportunities, 2) retirement benefits, and 3) work culture.


6. Test them out

Yes, resumes can give you a good idea of what the candidate’s qualifications are, but it can also give you a false or inflated idea of a candidate’s qualifications.

Did you know that 53% of resumes or applications contain some form of falsification and that a whopping 78% of resumes are misleading?

Hence, it’s important to give shortlisted applicants a skills test — just so you could gauge a candidate’s skills.

Also, you’d know who the really interested applicants are, as those who wouldn’t bother to do the test are most probably not as serious about the post.

You can create a test as specific to your job opening, which is something along the lines of creating a mock response to an irate customer or two, or a short marketing copy for a product.


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