5 Tips for Startups to Get the Hiring Game Spot On


Attracting the best and most sought after talent to a fresh startup is not easy. As technologies evolve and new skills grow in demand, professionals with the relevant capabilities will be wooed by everyone from Fortune 500 companies to startups like yours. So what is your USP that could draw a top performer to work for you, most probably at a salary that is far lesser than what established companies can offer?

One of the most popular hiring folklore is of Steve Jobs luring John Sculley– from Pepsi with a single question – “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?” It is likelier that you are no Steve Jobs and your product still has a long way to go before it can compare with Macintosh computers of yore. But it is perfectly possible to come across as a company with a burning desire to succeed and a vision that can potentially be game changer in your industry.

Excitement, massive growth potential and the power to venture into unexplored territories attract go-getters and innovators. So if they are the kind of people you are looking to hire, then there are many ways to go about it. Here are a few tips for you.

  • Give Your Company an Attractive Face

You need not put out expensive ads or drive money-guzzling marketing campaigns to get the word out about your company. Before setting out to hire talent, you need to have a great story to tell. If you have evinced interest from early investors that could be something that will go to prove that you have a viable product to sell. Interest from media, support from industry leaders, sustained growth in sales over the past several months and a milestone or two that you can be proud of, all are attractive to potential hires and position your company as a happening place to work at.

There are several news outlets and journalists that are willing to cover exciting, juicy and upcoming startup stories. You can contact them to share your growth story.

  • Invest in Building a Great Work Culture

A great work culture makes a startup a very, very good workplace. There is growth potential, excitement of working on something new and a great work environment. Top performers always want to work in a place where their talent and achievements will be recognized and rewarded, and where they will get opportunities to push themselves and overcome challenges. So ensure that you nurture a workplace where performers are given opportunities to grow and excel.

Work satisfaction is closely tied with a lot many factors. A supportive management, enthusiastic colleagues, challenging job role, rewards and recognition, competitive salary and pride in being able to contribute to global wellbeing are some of the key motivators for top performers.

  • Be Transparent and Ethical

Transparency and ethics are held in high value and esteem in today’s cut-throat corporate culture. So ensure that your startup lives by the defined values and ethics in everything that you do.

Patagonia is a company that upholds environment sustainability as one of its core values. Fair trade practices and global wellbeing also figure as equally important to the company. When an employee chooses to work with the company he or she knows that they are doing their bit for the greater good as well.

Buffer was inundated with job applications when it published employee salaries online. A company that is honest and straightforward about its policies and procedures will win not only respect but also admiration from potential hires. Your startup will come across as reliable, dependable and trustworthy, and it will be easier for you to attract top talent.

  • Extra Something to Sweeten the Deal

Extra benefits and performance-linked rewards always make a job offer more attractive to candidates. Gym memberships, meal coupons, organic meals and healthy eating options at office, subsidized transportation, flexible work hours and fair vacation policies are all valued by potential hires. In fact, many startups offer most or all of these before providing employees paid parental leave benefits.

Health, vision and dental insurance, and relaxed work wear policy are all part of commonly offered benefits at startups.

Asana offers 4 months paid parental leave, and flexible untracked time off.

Salesforce offers $100 every month to each employee to spend on wellness, 6 months paid maternity leave and unlimited vacation for managers and above.

You can check out what startups in your industry are offering and decide on what you can implement on similar lines to lure the best employees.

Ensure that you do not go overboard with benefits and always take on only what you can afford. You can balance out the costs by doing away or minimizing stock options for employees. Also remember that benefits are far more valuable to employees than you think. Benefits are just another part of the cost of doing business and are not additional perks that you can opt to do away.

  • Personalize Your Job Offers

Startups have the luxury of managing small teams, and are agile and nimble. It is definitely helpful when you have a common set of policies and requirements that apply to all employees. But in the case of startups you can afford to personalize job roles to suit dream hires.

If a particular candidate desires flexible work hours or location independence, it would be possible for you to work that out. Some companies like When I Work allow employees to work from anywhere they want for one month every year.

You can also consider giving all employees freedom to go location-independent. According to property search and records site Arivify, renting an office space in a startup hotspot can be really expensive. It will be a win-win situation for you as well as your employees if you choose to forego a physical office altogether and opt for remote working.

Buffer gives a ‘dependents grant’ as part of its pay package depending on the number of people the employee supports with his or her earnings.


Startups offer endless possibilities to employees who have the drive, ambition, skills and determination to succeed. If you can communicate the opportunities and benefits that your startup offers, and the challenges that the job roles will bring to the table, then you will find that top talent will be interested in working with you.

Author Bio:

Lori Wagoner is an independent content strategist who gives online marketing advice to small businesses. Lori has blogged at Tweak Your Biz, The Social Media Hat and many other business and tech blogs. You can reach her @LoriDWagoner on Twitter.


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