How To Attract Better Talent: 14 Useful Tips For Startup Founders
Startup founders rely heavily on the skills of their initial hires. However, given the competitive nature of recruiting in many industries, attracting the best talent can be a challenge. Larger, more well-established companies usually offer better compensation in terms of both pay and perks.
It’s a tall order to make the opportunities working for a startup provides more alluring to highly skilled professionals than other, potentially more lucrative positions. To help, 14 leaders from Forbes Coaches Council look at ways to attract better talent to your startup and keep them on your payroll.
1. Be Authentic And Unique
Be authentic. Be you! By being unique, you will hire talent that wants to explore and try new things. Today’s startups are all about innovation and new ideas. And by creating an environment that is not cookie-cutter, companies will be able to attract team members and customers alike who can think outside the box and support the organization’s growth. – Parul Agrawal, GrowthMedia.AI
2. Show Them Other Opportunities
Make the talent part of a team and show them their opportunities. When you are on a sports team, you get to try other positions. Let your talent dip their toes into other parts of the business that interest them but lie outside of their expertise. This will allow them to grow professionally with the business and make them feel exhilarated to be part of an amazing team. – Jacquelyn Van Tuyl, JVSolutions LLC
3. Have A Solid Founder Story
Make sure that your founder story is solid so that your talent can empathize with it and see how they can hook into this shared story and vision. It requires a leap of faith and trust to join a startup. You’re asking people to take on a mountain of work on faith that they’ll be well-compensated in the end, so make sure they can tune into your vision and your “why” early and often. – Kate Peters, Bright Voyage Leadership
4. Have A Truly Compelling Purpose
Working on a truly compelling purpose for the company can, if well-articulated, help recruit great talent. Great talent is more about potential, and potential is driven by learning beyond current capabilities or performance. Focus on the pace and triggers of learning in interviews. Have a team structure that works as a connection to team-driven engagement so that you are more likely to retain the talent. – Jeffrey Cohen, Performance Leaders, LLC
5. Focus On What They Want In A Job
Too many entrepreneurs expect people to be thrilled about the startup ride, but it’s not really their ride. Focus on what is important to them instead of expecting them to work hard to help you achieve your dream vision. Some examples to consider are flexible schedules, growth opportunities, volunteer opportunities, social responsibility and networking. – Kelly Tyler Byrnes, Voyage Consulting Group
6. Emphasize Flexibility And Autonomy
Emphasize the flexibility, autonomy and meaning of the role. Those attributes are hard to find and highly desirable. Learning opportunities and a chance to build mastery in their own professional growth is attractive to talented people whose desire is to get better at what they do. Those are the ones you want. – Jessica Hartung, Treelight Productions
7. Look For Values That ‘Match’ Yours
Your values must be intentional. Make values a part of all you do. Attracting the right employees is an important part of ensuring that your team lives and breathes the values you work hard to promote. By finding “matching” core values in people you hire, aligning your firm’s image and messaging and being intentional, you will create a team culture of successful, like-minded and diverse teammates. – Jay McDonald, Middleton McDonald Group, Inc.
8. Hire For Attitude And Curiosity
Hire for attitude and curiosity in addition to competence. In a startup, a jack-of-all-trades is incredibly valuable, but only if they actively pursue what they don’t know and have a tenacious and positive attitude. The intensity of a startup should never be underestimated. Those who wake up each morning believing that they will be successful are invaluable assets to add to the team. – Evan Roth, Roth Consultancy International, LLC.
9. Always Be Recruiting
You have to always be recruiting. Interview a lot of people and know what you’re looking for. Know the type of person you want in your company and the type of character you’re looking for in them. This may require both a recruiter and reaching out to your network. Always remember: If you want to be great, you have to hire great. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience
10. Ask Your Rock Stars For Referrals
Find your current rock stars. Offer them a sizable bonus to find another person to come work for you. Listen, your people—whom you love, and who love working for you—should be your ambassadors. Lean on them for their networking power. – Natasha Ganem, Lion Leadership
11. Articulate Your Vision With Passion
Articulate your vision and work-life values with passion. Entice someone to work with you when they see what you want to do. Little attention is paid to the spirit of the job in traditional recruiting methods that seek only the talent, not talent and personality. The most successful hires on an entrepreneurial team occur when someone joins because of the vision and culture, not the role or the money. – Maryann Billington, Action Leadership Group LLC
12. Communicate How You’re Different
Clearly communicate how your company differs from the competition. I recommend establishing a coaching culture and explaining how you create and maintain it. Describe how you focus on growing people as well as profit. Operationalize how you grow people in your company. Setting yourself apart as an employer can encourage better talent to move you to the top of their list. – Ron Young, Trove, Inc.
13. Know Your Gaps And Blind Spots
Understand your own strengths and what you are personally missing that you will need to move forward. Depending on the role you are trying to fill, it will depend on how you form the job ad to attract the right candidate. Complete a job profile to further define the characteristic needs of the job, then match these to the behavioral needs of the candidate. Know your gaps and blind spots to move the business forward. – Shelley Smith, Premier Rapport
14. Create A Fun Environment That Promotes Growth
You have the ability to let your team run with it. Compared to working for a large company, in a small firm they can be exposed to more, learn faster and see the results of their choices more clearly. For many people, that is really attractive. Look for people who fit the bill and want to be challenged and grow. – Brad Federman, PerformancePoint LLC
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