Hiring is getting increasingly harder for most companies across the Globe. When it comes to hiring for start-ups, the situation is even more difficult. According to a recent survey by a leading magazine in the USA,
“The #1 challenge that most start-up founders speak about is recruiting people. It’s not raising money, closing deals, doing sales, finding partners. It’s hiring people.”
In an environment where even established companies are finding it difficult to find the right resource, as start-ups you have your task cut out. For start-ups, it’s not about just the right skills; you need to identify people who are start-up fit as well. Not everyone is cut out for a start-up stint which makes start-up hiring an extremely difficult exercise. The stakes are also much higher in case of start-ups. You can’t risk hiring the wrong guy as it can potentially break the momentum for the nascent organisation.
Problem is it doesn’t end here. It’s not enough that the odds are stacked against you, you have to pull this through with little resource and time. Obviously, you can’t afford to traverse the beaten path. You need to do more and need to do different. We have zeroed down on these 5 must do things that you must keep in mind to win the race for on-boarding the best talent:
Build a Persona: Start-ups can’t out-compete the established players in terms of their ability to pay higher remunerations or better work ambiance. In fact employees whose decisions are influenced by these factors are a big misfit for the start-ups. There are exciting talent out there who are up for opportunities to work with start-ups. They are young, highly skilled, fiercely independent and fearless about future job security. But then you got to make it mighty easy for these set of people to discover you. You must be out there talking about what your venture stands for, your vision, mission, value system etc. on every forum possible. Get your team members to share their experience of working with the company, how they work, interact, take up new challenges and excel. It’s the story you put out is important. If your target audience find it exciting, be assured your job is half done!
Look beyond Obvious channels: As start-ups you are expected to do things non-linearly, going beyond the obvious choices. Job-boards (Indeed, Monster, Naukri, LinkedIn) have had their day under the sun when candidates used to chase companies. Things have changed now and the job-boards also need to reinvent their value proposition. Changing times are throwing up new challenges. As entrepreneurs there are competing demands on your time. You need solutions that get things done for you so that you can concentrate on building businesses.
There are exciting start-ups in the recruitment space who are trying to solve the emerging problems. Companies like Hired, Workable, Harver, Selectable and others are using technologies to make hiring faster and easier. You need to explore these emerging solutions and find out what works for you.
Leverage Technology: In the past, you could simply post a job and people would actively apply. Now when quality talent has become scarce, not only you need a compelling value proposition, you also need better reach, the ability to reach out even to passive candidates. Start-ups with limited resource have no option but to take recourse to new technologies. Emerging technologies like AI / ML, chat-bots, block-chain are making it possible to reach out to candidates across the web by tracking their digital foot-print. Increasing use of technology in the recruitment space will make it a more level playing field for start-ups. But for that to happen, start-ups need to stay ahead of the curve in innovative application of emerging technologies.
Optimize Process: Hiring can be a tedious activity with multiple rounds of iterative activities. Start-ups are not the places where one looks for set processes. However, when it comes to hiring, it is good to get started early. Thinking and adopting process early will help you identify activities that can be automated or delegated thus freeing you and other key people with lots of valuable time. Right delegation and automation will help cut down internal hiring cycles thus allowing you to take decisions faster and not lose out on a potential hire due to internal delays.
Get Involved: Finally start-ups are about its founders, co-founders and other key people. These people have to lead from the front when it comes to hiring. As start-ups you are not flush with funds and cannot offer big pay-checks to your potential hires. In order to convince top talent to come and work for you, you need to become your own brand ambassadors and closely engage with potential hires. As founders, you are best placed to articulate your long-term vision to your potential team members and address their concerns convincingly. “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” That single question was how Steve Jobs convinced John Scully, a Pepsi executive at the time, to join Apple.
Your hiring plans would be doomed if early in your life-cycle you are thinking about hiring recruiters or engaging recruitment consulting firms to do the job for you. The future of a start-up depends on its first 100 hires. Why would you write your own epitaph by leaving it to others to hire those on whose shoulders rest the future of your organisation?