Source and hire top employees for startup in competitive market

How to hire Super Employees for your Startup with Limited Resources?

November 17, 2023

It’s said that leaders spend 10% of their time hiring people and 90% making up for recruiting mistakes. A dilemma all founders face: How to hire for Startups?

While on a quest to win decent employees for “normal” job roles, we meet with failure. Imagine how difficult it is to decide what strategies would you use to attract more talent to fill senior management and important roles!

There, a decent employee is not enough. We need a super employee. And we need to hire right!  But will a super employee work for you?  And Shouting talents are easy to tap but expensive. A start-up is most likely not their first choice.

Then what are your **strategies to attract a Whispering talent that you can source at a reasonable package?

This guide is especially for Startups where the resources are limited, but a superteam is your path to 100x growth and more.

This guide is divided primarily into 3 sections:

  • Attracting - Building assets that amplify the candidate’s desire to work for you
  • Sourcing - Beyond job posting & online search, the methods that attract trusted candidates
  • Assessing - An interview isn’t enough! Then how to test a candidate’s on-job skills?

A. Attracting Talent that's 10/10

A.1. Position Your Company Brand as a Premium Workplace

To hire employees for your startup, you must position your company as an attractive destination for top talent. This involves building a strong brand presence on social platforms like LinkedIn. By following the steps outlined in this section, you can enhance your brand image and create a compelling narrative for potential candidates.

  1. Identify Brand Positioning: Define your unique selling proposition that sets your company apart. It is one of the most powerful hiring strategies for startups.
  2. Strong Banner Image: Create a captivating banner image that reflects your mission, and values and attracts the best talent for your startup.
  3. Building Bio Right: Craft a compelling bio that includes your brand positioning statement, impact, and mission.
  4. Checking Essentials: Ensure your LinkedIn page is complete with high-quality images and details to attract the best talent for your startup.
  5. Building Overview: Answer key questions about your vision, mission, values, positioning, and products/services.
  6. Leverage Brand Names: Highlight the brands your company has served or partnered with.
  7. Leverage Figures: Showcase the impact and mission of your company.
  8. Add Depth with Posts: Share company achievements and employee stories.
  9. Involve Your Employees: Encourage happy employees to share their experiences on LinkedIn to help attract the best talent for your startup.
  10. Check for Consistency: Replicate your LinkedIn strategies on other social media platforms.

A.2. Vacancy Positioning

When crafting job descriptions for your startup, remember that a generic approach won't work. Instead, use strategies to attract more talent by positioning the job opening as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. By addressing the "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves" in the role, you can ensure that the ideal candidate can contribute effectively to your startup's success.

A.3. Writing High-Intent JD

Your job description should not only focus on the package but also the opportunities for growth and personal development. Craft a high-intent job description by:

  • Making titles specific.
  • Opening with a captivating summary.
  • Listing required hard and soft skills, core responsibilities, and top benefits.
  • Highlighting your company culture.
  • Explaining how the role can lead to career progression within the company.

B. Sourcing Potential Stellar Candidates

When it comes to how to hire for a startup, sourcing the right candidates is a critical step. Utilize various hiring strategies for startups to tap into a broad pool of talent:

i. Hire from Competitors & Other Companies

One effective approach to attracting the best talent for your startup is to target individuals who are already excelling in similar roles at other companies.

ii. Attend Networking Events

Networking events provide opportunities to connect with potential candidates and improve your startup's employer brand. These events can be a valuable source of talent and help you implement effective hiring strategies for startups.

iii. Call References of Referrals

Leveraging the networks of your current employees can lead to valuable referrals. It's a strategy to attract more talent through word-of-mouth recommendations.

iv. Talk to Friends, Connections & Professionals

Leverage your network to spread the word and tap into their resume collections.

v. Seek Your Company Fans

Turn loyal customers into passionate employees who already love your brand.

vi. Tap Reverse Recruiters

Use skill evaluations and assessments to find active job seekers.

vii. Employee Referrals

Employee referrals are a classic method for attracting candidates. They can be a great way to attract the best talent for your startup by leveraging your existing team's connections.

viii. Revisit Previous Applicants

Consider candidates from previous hiring rounds who may have developed the skills necessary for the job. This is a strategy to hire employees for your startup who have shown potential in the past.

ix. Build a Talent Pipeline

Proactively reach out to passive candidates within your network and gather information about their preferences and career goals. This is a smart strategy to attract more talent as it allows you to maintain a pool of potential candidates.

C. How to Spot a Super Talent Among Others

When assessing potential candidates, focus on the following pillars of evaluation:

C.1. Interviewing Beyond Interview

Look beyond resumes and interviews to understand a candidate's personality, values, and motivations. Consider meetings outside of work to get to know them better.

C.2. How to Test People

Implement work sample tests or job shadowing to evaluate a candidate's skills, performance, and compatibility with the role. This helps you hire for your startup based on actual performance rather than just resumes and interviews.

C.3. How to Craft Work Sample Tests

Create work sample assessments that mirror the tasks required for the job. Evaluate technical skills, soft skills, and alignment with the vacancy positioning list.

D. Building the Best Deal for Your Super Talent

To attract the best talent for your startup, you must offer a compelling package. Consider the following elements when creating a competitive compensation and benefits package:

D.1. Building the Core of the Package

Design a package that appeals to top talent by including elements of status and earning:

  • Designation
  • Leading a team
  • Competitive base pay
  • Performance bonus
  • Profit-sharing
  • Stock options

D.2. Building P&B with Jar Theory

D. 2. i. Start with as many rocks:

  • Top talent looks for career progression. This is how Karla Reffold, COO at Orpheus Cyber, suggests we should nail this:
  • Discuss what role may come after the one they are being hired into.
  • Show career progression
  • Suggest timescales
  • Introduce them to others who have done it
  • Show them how this can be done
  • Learning - Like getting senior leaders to offer workshops on specific and specialized topics
  • Paid PTO, parental leave, and PTO For volunteering
  • Four-day workweek
  • Remote working allowance
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Exclusive Employee Discounts
  • Medical benefits

D. 2. ii. Add the pebbles

  • Canteen benefits/food reimbursement
  • Fitness allowance
  • Wellness benefits such – as book subscriptions/gym memberships/mental health well-being, etc.
  • Wellness leaves - time off for mental resets, fatigue, stress, periods, and the impacts of visible and invisible illness.
  • Retirement benefits
  • Open leave policy

D. 2. iii. Fill in the rest with sand and water

  • Chef-cooked fine dining options
  • Catered meals at the workplace
  • Club memberships
  • Reimbursement of vacation travel
  • College scholarships for children of employees, etc.

💡 Sometimes simply asking your existing employees which P&B they love can uncover great P&B options you can include.

In conclusion, hiring for your startup with limited resources is possible by optimizing your brand, job descriptions, sourcing strategies, assessment techniques, and compensation packages!

It can be a daunting task but it doesn’t necessarily have to be! You can find support from like-minded thought leaders in the industry at Sparklehood.

Visit: Sparklehood