When business owners are in the process of starting up and hiring their first employees, they look for a select group of people who can help them grow fast and handle that growth. Business owners, like yourself, want those ambitious, driven and skilled employees that are willing to work long hours for cheap. You want someone who is a good fit for your culture and someone you can get along with. It can be a complete disaster when a startup hires the wrong person. It can hurt morale, be a distraction and stunt growth.
Large companies hire specialists to get certain jobs done, while startups hire more generalists that can be more adaptive and solve problems across the company. Big companies can spend thousands of dollars to fill positions—investing in online advertising, job fairs and employee referral programs. It can take a large company months to actually hire someone through their recruiting process, whereas it only takes you a week or two. In order to select the best people to hire and get the most bang for your buck, here are three ways to recruit talent for your startup.
1. Post on startup job boards. Instead of paying large sums of money to post on the major job boards, it makes more sense to invest in free or cheap startup job boards. A couple of examples include Startuply and CoNotes. With Startuply, you can even create a company profile to tell people about your mission, your products and the team behind them. It’s a great way to market yourself, while listing your jobs. There are also startup job boards on popular sites, like Mashable and VentureBeat. By posting on these niche sites, it’s a more targeted way to source talent for your startup. Be as specific and as honest as you can when you post your jobs so you attract the best possible candidates.
2. Build a social network. By building up a following of like-minded individuals through your social network profiles, it will save you time in the future when you need to hire quickly. Use each of your profiles to promote your jobs and make it easy for people to either contact you or someone else at your company so you can retrieve resumes, review them and make quick decisions. Use a hashtag on Twitter, such as #startupjobs, so that people can follow the jobs as you post them. You will also want to post all of your new jobs on your website and link to the postings from your profiles. You should re-post jobs regularly because status updates are instant and can get lost in all the clutter. You should also ask your friends and contacts to retweet your job posts and cross-promote with them when they have jobs they need to fill.
3. Consider close friends and networking events. The easiest way to find talent is to look at the friends you already have. Over the years, you’ve built friendships and trust with people that could become great employees. You know them well, what they can do and whether or not you’ll be able to work with them as part of a team. Of course, hiring your friends could result in issues later if things don’t work out, but that’s a risk you would have to be willing to take. Another route you can take is to go to startup-specific networking events and conferences. These typically attract a lot of people who are interested in working at startups.
Dan Schawbel, recognized as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, is managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and management consulting firm. Dan is the author of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, the founder of the Personal Branding Blog and publisher of Personal Branding Magazine.
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