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How to recruit the best candidate for a startup?


by Wiktoria Stretskite

People who recruit developers for a startup stick to different tactics than their colleagues who hire for established companies. In this article, we’ll explain how to find the best candidate for your startup in the shortest possible time.

Highlight the Advantages That Your Business Has Over a Large Organization

Here are the key points that it makes sense to emphasize:

  • All the people who work for you are committed, passionate and enthusiastic;
  • The work process is exciting, each candidate gets a great chance to showcase their potential;
  • Within a small team, it’s easier to establish personal communication and make friends.

No one is a cog in the machine. Every individual is valuable and their contribution to the common goal is precious.

Accentuate the Competitive Edge of Your Product

Each candidate will be curious to get to know:

  • Which product will they be working on?
  • What’s its USP?
  • Does this product already generate income? If yes, how much?
  • Who is the target audience of this product?
  • What are its market perspectives?
  • How many investors have funded the startup and who are they?

The most ambitious candidates will prefer to join your startup at an early stage. That would give them a chance to gain greater influence over the product.

Talk About Fast Career Growth

A startup facilitates the process of climbing up the career ladder for the following reasons:

  • In a small team, it’s easier for managers to spot talent and promote them to a higher role;
  • Initiative is welcomed;
  • Startups are more open to innovation, compared to conventional businesses;
  • Corporate hierarchy is not rigid.

To recruit effectively, explain to candidates during the interview that they will have enough decision-making autonomy and that every opinion matters in your organization.

Keep Your Interviews Short

Large corporations might ask candidates to complete several rounds of interviews. Startups function in a completely different environment where dynamics are the key. Automate the selection of the right candidates with online questionnaires. Make sure each interview lasts no longer than 1-2 hours.

Create Education Opportunities

Probably, your startup can’t yet provide free educational courses for its staff members. But your employees can learn directly from their more experienced colleagues and the founders. The latter can help the former to acquire new hard and soft skills as well as teach them to use software and handle new technologies. The most talented and active professionals today don’t want their work to bring them only income. They value opportunities for ongoing personal and professional growth.

If your organization has a flat structure, many candidates will appreciate it. They will be able to freely communicate with managers and founders, which they will be likely to perceive as role models. It’s very important for spreading knowledge within the team.

Opt for Passionate Individuals

This recommendation on how to recruit developers frequently passes below the radar. At an interview, ask the candidates questions about their hobbies:

  • What do they enjoy doing in their free time?
  • What’s their biggest achievement related to their hobby?
  • How does their hobby contribute to their personal and professional development?

A job in a startup is not typical nine-to-five work. It’s important that all the team members think outside the box and suggest improvements. Many successful startup owners confess that they value the initiative more than actual commercial experience. Individuals who like to passively watch TV all weekend long will hardly be the right fit for any position.

Hire Professionals with Different Levels of Expertise

The budget of most startups is limited. They can’t afford to hire only the most experienced specialists. At the same time, it would be unreasonable to leave the team without senior-level members. Start with hiring the minimum required number of senior-level professionals who will be your most efficient staffers.

Then, find quality employees for junior positions that facilitate the fastest career growth. If you properly educate your least-experienced team members, they will quickly evolve into valuable professionals. Use this approach to balance the expertise level within your team and your budget.

Team up with a Recruitment Agency If Your Lack an HR Department

Most startups can’t afford a dedicated HR department at the early stage of development. Moreover, they might not require it. The founders try to handle the recruitment process single-handedly and rarely manage to make the most of it. The founding team normally lacks time and the necessary skills.

Asking a recruitment agency to find the right employee can save you a lot of funds and effort. They know how to compose the most informative and compelling job offers and place them strategically on the right platforms. They use efficient preliminary screening techniques and precisely measure the level of professionalism of each person.

Agencies know how to approach “passive candidates”. These are people who currently have jobs, are happy with them and aren’t planning to look for new opportunities. But if someone comes up with an attractive offer, they might be ready to accept it.