The early years of any startup are undoubtedly the hardest and the most crucial to growth and success. Not only do you have the financial struggles of sustaining profitability (if you can even make yourself profitable in year one), but you have the added problem of finding the right people to get on the bus and getting them to stay.
Any infant start up is going to find it difficult to compete with industry giants when it comes to talent acquisition. Startup companies too often find themselves in a salary bidding war that often ends in vain. But, to all of you entrepreneurs following along, don't stop reading this; all is not lost. There are ways to recruit talented employees even though you might not be able to afford them.
Put yourself in the shoes of a talented person who has never heard of your company. How are you going to win them over?
Offer Experience, Don't Look For It
Companies often seek the most experienced candidates for the position; how many times did you not get the job because you were "too inexperienced?" Recruiting experience is fine and completely necessary when you're hiring doctors and lifesaving professionals. But when hiring for a startup, you should look for fresh out-of-college talent. New grads are hungry for work and hoping for any opportunity to prove their value, so entry level recruitment is worth considering.
Emphasize the Perks of the Job
Since there's no corporate red tape, implementing your own rules is quick and easy. Even though you might not be able to reward your staff monetarily, there are other ways an employee can benefit from working for a startup company. Here are just a few extra perks you could offer that won't break the bank:
- Permit employees to work from home on occasion. It doesn't cost you anymore, but be sure to put KPIs in place
- Choosing a laptop tablet or cell phone aren't only a perk for employees who might not be able to afford the latest technology, but they also open more opportunity for your employees to work from home.
- Allow a flex start time. Some companies allow you to flex your hours as long as you're in the office for a core period of time. Eg. Work 8 A.M. - 5 P.M. or 10 A.M. - 7 P.M., but you must be in the office from 10 A.M. -5 P.M. This will allow employees to dodge rush hour traffic and make their own schedule.
- Allow a casual dress code if your company has remote clients that'll never visit your office. The Rule: No shirt, no shoes, not okay.
- Beer Fridays and grabbing a dozen donuts every couple of weeks is a nice relief from the day-to-day grind.
- Company swag. There isn't one person I know that doesn't love a free t-shirt. Branded swag is not only awesome, it makes an employee feel part of the group.
Give Opportunities and Responsibility
Two of the great things about startups are the opportunities to take on more responsibility. This is a big selling point for young professionals looking to gain valuable experience in the workplace. If you can show a candidate their professional and salary growth plan, then they'll be motivated by the long-term benefits and not turned off by the short-term smaller paycheck.
Keep it Real
Your recruiting process should be clean and honest. Portraying an unrealistic reflection of your company's leadership and workplace culture is only going to attract the wrong kind of talent. What's more is that when someone is hired they'll feel deceived and probably be miserable because it's not what they signed up for. It doesn't matter if your organization is strict and severe, zany, playful, or completely unprofessional. If you mislead a recruit, then they won't feel comfortable in your culture.
Now this isn't to say that everyone doesn't have a price and that talent won't move onto bigger and better things from time to time. Let's face it, there's an offer that can't be refused for almost anyone within the working world. With that being said, if you stick to the strategies above and get the right people on board in the first place, then recruiting and retaining the majority of your talent will be far less stressful.
Author Bio: Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer or choosing a laptop tablet to test out, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.