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How to Find the Best Employees to Join Your Startup

The Great Resignation of 2021 has been upon us with more than 4.4 million people quitting their jobs in September. It goes without saying, but it is equally important to both keep - and find - great talent in the coming months. With the power being in the interviewee’s hands, what can you, as a startup, do to attract amazing talent against and compete with the tech giants?

We sat down with Jody Robie, SVP at Talent Works, and Taylor Roa, Director of Talent at Wistia, for their take.

Startup Boston: How can you show applicants that your startup is where they will be the most valued and challenged?

Jody: Employer brand plays a huge factor in showcasing what your startup is all about. Right now, the employer brand gets prioritized or deprioritized depending on how hard it is to build. It’s very hard to hire right now. An employer brand is what will help set you apart from other companies competing for the same talent.

People want to know if they’re able to work remotely, in-person, if there is a hybrid option. They also want to know about office safety (if there is one), and if being vaccinated is a mandatory company policy. Additionally, the employer brand will address important points such as parental leave, mental health days, and work/life balance, so applicants will know if this startup has the same values as them even before they apply.

As you plan this employer brand, it’s important to truly reflect on what you have at hand and have done to-date. Take a look at exit interviews, Glassdoor reviews and what you know, both skill set and personality wise, it will take to be successful at your company.

Taylor: I would also add that, when building an employer brand, a video showcasing who is at the company and the values of the company can go a very long way. Videos add a huge amount of value throughout the process and truly show the culture that a potential co-worker would join, by taking them “behind the curtain.”

Startup Boston: What are some tips you have on creating the job description for the roles you’re hiring for?

Taylor: Job descriptions can be too heavily focused on the job itself and not the person. We should not be limited to the “standard” job title and description but, rather, who we want to appeal to. The description should be fun, vague, and include the soft skills that you want this person to have.

Startup Boston: And where would you recommend posting these roles and finding talent?

Jody: You should use some of your recruiting budget on ad spend, specifically targeting the job seekers you’re looking for. These ads shouldn’t necessarily be spent on the job posting, but rather the brand, so that your employer brand is top of mind for someone who is looking or thinking of switching.

When you do post a job description, LinkedIn and Indeed are best. You’ll also want to make sure you have bandwidth to go through all of the resumes these postings will pull through - and have time to track down candidates who have not applied but you think would be a good fit. If you can afford it, you may want to consider going to an outside search firm.

Additionally, employee referrals is a great way to find hires that would be a fit. The one thing to be cautious of is hiring the same type of personality or resume, then you do risk not having the diversity of thought on your team.

Taylor: Don’t skimp on hiring recruiters - they will save money in the long run. My recruiters have 5-7 roles that they are responsible for. They develop relationships with candidates and are proactive in their search.

Startup Boston: Any final thoughts for startups hiring in this market?

Jody: It’s very difficult to do recruiting as a side gig. Five years ago, founders were able to recruit in addition to their full-time job as a founder. In this market, it’s incredibly important to be realistic of your in-house capabilities. Find the right partners that can flex and scale your hiring efforts with you.

Taylor: Now more than ever, people shifted priorities and work environment, there is more intention behind what they are doing. The market is crazy with solicitation giving employees a choice in where they want to work. The key advantage is being a known brand.

Are you ready to dive deeper into hiring for your startup? Check out Startup Boston Week 2021’s panel, Workforce Source: How to Scale from 10 to 100 Employees When You are Too Busy to Hire (below).

If you’re ready to hire now, then reach out to Talent Works here to learn more about how they can help you scale.


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