Everyone in the startup sector is hiring right now. How are you going to compete to get the people your startup needs? I’m not referring to outsourced freelancers, but team members that will be working alongside you in the “trenches,” helping you build your organization.
It’s a several stage process that can take months if you’re hiring for an integral position. Don’t take it lightly, and don’t hire the first person willing to do the job for the amount you offer. There are endless statistics to this effect:
- The average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first year potential earnings. – U.S. Department of Labor
- As much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. -Harvard Business Review
- Employers have lost more than 79% of negligent hiring cases. -Public Personnel Management
Hiring the right employee means more than fulfilling the basic job qualifications. The first phase in the process is often the most important one: creating a large and diversified group of applicants to choose from. Expand your search to the 7 categories below and you’ll have a better chance of finding someone that exceeds your expectations. Just as you do everything in your power to gain sales, you’ll have to put an equal amount of effort into hiring. Make the beginning part of this process easier on yourself by casting a wide net.
- Advertise on Major Content Sites – Target the largest content sites in your industry and place an inviting ad announcing that you’re hiring. For example, Bodis has advertised on the largest domain community for some of their past hires.
- Social Media – Reach out on your platforms with the most followers. Getting one of your industry’s social media thought leaders to repost your message can work wonders. Remember that social media platforms should act as a delivery method to relay your content to draw applicants in. The medium where the actual content is hosted should be on your company website. If you have a listing on a job board you could also forward leads there, but why send your applicants to a source you have no control over or you may have to pay a commission on?
- Company Blog and Site – People often forget how integral this one is. It’s the first place any potential hire is going to visit if they’re worth their salt, so give them a clear avenue by which to apply, and what they should expect in the process.
- Job Boards – The sheer number and variety of job boards can be daunting. Look into a job board manager that helps you simultaneously post and manage your listings, like ziprecruiter, or religiously track them in a Google doc. Hone the process over time by conducting A/B tests to see what works best and why. Just remember to post the identical ad on each site during the same time frame so you don’t receive confusing mixed results. Here’s a list of the major employment sites to get you started:
- Search Firms – Headhunters can be an asset in delivering results, however, don’t solely rely on outsourcing your hiring process to a 3rd party or take everything they say for granted. Keep in mind that they work on commission.
- Local Newspapers and Trade Publications – This could be a possibility depending on which industry you’re reaching out to. If you’re advertising for a startup based around a suite of domain tools, you’re probably not going to advertise in the neighborhood gazette.
- Networking Events and Other Opportunities – Attending events and keeping in touch with old colleagues improves your chances in the hiring process and lets everyone know your company is growing. Here are some of the most common places to start:
- Meetups – Make sure the meetups have more than 80 people in attendance from your industry or it may not be worth your time. By far one of the best ways to find a potential hire is talking to them in an inconspicuous setting. People often drop their guard a bit more in this environment. You’ll get more natural responses to your questions and the initial interaction won’t seem as “life or death.” Just remember that you’re at a social event, not a speed-dating contest.
- Conferences – Look for a minimum of 500 attendees or more.
- Alma Mater Groups – What better way is there to look for talent than at your old stomping grounds? Forge deeper connections with potential hires and mull over what’s changed since you’ve been away.
- Friends, Family, and Professional Network – Personal referrals are often the “bread and butter” of pre-qualified applicants. Anyone in your personal or professional circle will often know someone to forward to you. Try reaching out to your accountant or lawyer and tap into their large networks.
If you utilize all these mediums together, you should be able to draw a large enough stack of applications to find your personal “ninja unicorn.” Bear in mind that this is just the first phase in a process that has several steps. Be wary of hiring the first applicant you interview, or only having a single interview in your vetting process.
For more seasoned advice and tips on new hires and the entire process, make sure to read Morgan’s previous posts on the subject: