Recruitment for Startups: How to Find the Right Staff for Your Business
There comes an exciting time in the life of a startup when you’ll need to take on a member of staff. Whether it’s because you’re growing exponentially or simply because you need to lighten the workload, recruitment is bound to happen somewhere along the line. However, finding the right staff for your business is no easy feat; which is probably why recruitment is a whole role in itself. In this handy guide, we’re going to look at when you might need to hire someone new, how to recruit for your startup, and how to ensure you pick the right new employee.
Do you really need to hire?
One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself, before you start throwing out job adverts, is whether you really need to hire. What is it you’re hoping your new employee will help you achieve? Is it because you don’t want to work on your own anymore or do you really need someone to help with the workload? And, do you need to employ someone who can you find someone to do this task freelance? Recruitment and the eventual hiring of a staff member is a costly and time-consuming process. Make sure your business is 100% ready for someone new, before you get started.
What is the role?
Now that you’re certain a new staff member is needed, it’s imperative you work out exactly what you need them to do. What are the responsibilities of the role? What are you expecting them to achieve on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Start writing some notes and you’ll begin forming the basis of a job advert. Consider what your new employee will be doing on a daily basis and all of the other, little tasks that may need to be carried out as part of their role.
Posting your job advert
You should now have the basics of a job advertisement ready to go, so now it’s time to refine it and post it. Consider what experience or qualifications you want your potential new employee to have, along with any specific skillsets, to refine your advertisement. Don’t forget, it’s not just about what you want. Let potential employees know what they could expect working for you, too. Get them excited about your company and its shiny new role. Now, you’re ready to start your search! Think about where your perfect employee would look for their perfect role. If you’re looking for someone traditional, who likes to keep things old-fashioned, then get your job advert up in shop windows and in the newspaper. If you’d prefer someone to be tech-savvy, then post your job advert online. If you’re looking for someone with a specific niche, see if you can find a recruitment site that focuses solely on that industry. Be prepared to pay for your job advert to go live with most recruitment sites, although some (like Indeed), will let you post an ad for free.
One of the most time-consuming parts of recruitment is going through the dozens of CVs you’re likely to get sent. I personally have spent time as a recruitment agent, so know how fruitless this task can seem. Especially when people clearly don’t read the job description! If you’re recruiting for a popular role then expect dozens – if not hundreds – of CVs to come your way. Be prepared to learn how to skim-read, and be brutal when cutting down potential candidates. However, keep one or two wildcards who perhaps don’t have the qualifications you’ve asked for, but have something unique about their cover letter or CV.
Once you have whittled your CV list down to a handful, it’s time to start calling people in for interviews. If you thought going to an interview was nerve-wracking, wait until you have to hold one of your own. The best way to hold a successful interview? Preparation, preparation, preparation. Print off a copy of the candidate’s CV and make sure you have read through it several times. Use this to then start putting together interview questions, based on their qualifications and experience. This will show you have a genuine interest in them, too! Imagine yourself as the interviewee and put together a list of questions you’d ask yourself. This will help when it gets to that awkward, “any questions?” stage. Finally, relax and remember that you’ve built your business up enough to recruit someone, so holding an interview should be a doddle.
Recruitment Tips and Tricks
We’ve covered the basics of recruitment for startups, but there’s still plenty more to think about. Here are some quick-fire tips and tricks, to ensure things run a little smoother:
- To make things a little easier on yourself when sifting through CVs, ask for something specific in the job advert itself. For example, ask for them to link you to 3 samples of their previous work or to include their favourite colour in their cover letter. This will help you sort between those who have actually read the description (and have good attention to detail) and those who haven’t bothered.
- Hold a telephone interview first if you have a huge list of potentials, as this can help you whittle things down further. You could also be totally modern and ask for an initial interview over Skype, too. You can usually cut your list down in half (if not more) with a pre-interview interview.
- Use recruitment software to manage your candidates and job descriptions, particularly if you have a couple of roles you want to recruit for. You can get some pretty cheap recruitment CRM systems out there, that will let you track applicants and keep notes. This will stop that inevitable, “did I like her or not?!” moment.
- If at first you don’t succeed, don’t go for the best of a bad bunch. If your recruitment drive has been unsuccessful, try again. Don’t just go for someone because you’re desperate to fill that position. Go back through some of those discarded CVs, there might be a hidden gem in there.
- Get social! Hit social media to ask people for recommendations and to advertise your job role. Try networking events, also. You never know, your perfect candidate could be following you on Twitter.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to recruitment agencies. If you don’t want help with your search and keep getting hounded, just politely let them know that you’ll call THEM if you’re struggling. At the same time, if you are struggling, don’t be afraid to say yes either. Sometimes recruitment agents get a bad rep, but they’re not all terrible.
You now have everything you need to start recruiting for your startup! It’s going to be both exciting and nerve-wracking, but you’ve got it in the bag with these tips and tricks. Good luck and happy employee hunting.