Trying to hire top talent before people are familiar with your startup creates a loop that feels impossible to get out of. No one will hear about your startup until great talent has made you a success, and great talent can’t find you unless you’re successful. Startups often need to use unconventional methods to accomplish a lot of things, and hiring is at the top of the list. When you need top talent before you have recognition, it’s time to think outside of the box.
1. Contact Candidates Directly
It’s a little too early to raise brand awareness for your startup if you don’t have many employees to help provide your product or service. Rather than launching broad campaigns and hoping that something sticks, instill that awareness in ideal candidates that you’ve hand selected. Browse professional social networks to find people you believe would be a perfect fit for your startup, and pitch yourself to them with the same vigor you used to pitch yourself to your investors.
2. Attend Trade Shows
Trade shows, conventions, exhibitions, and industry events are perfect places to meet likeminded people and exchange ideas. You’ll be representing your startup, and you’re bound to meet other people who are interested in what you’re doing. Establish relationships with those people. You might find some valuable hires in your new expanded network, and even if you don’t, you’re strengthening the foundation of your startup via networking.
3. Start a Blog
Create a blog for your startup. Post about yourself and what you do, but expand your focus. Cover anything and everything pertaining to your industry, and post helpful resources like tutorials. This will help you establish yourself as an authority. People who are already interested in things similar to what you’re doing might stumble upon your blog. Make it known that you’re hiring, and you’ll likely garner responses from people who are already passionate about your work. Show them what they’d like to see, and let them come to you.
4. Emphasize Your Company Culture
If you aren’t yet actively providing a product or service, it can be difficult to convince people to work for you. They don’t have any representation of what they’re helping to create, and it can be difficult for them to picture themselves thriving in an environment with so many unknowns. That’s where the emphasis of company culture comes into play. A great company culture is necessary, and it doesn’t need to be expensive to create. They’ll know what it’s like to work for you, and the things they value. They’ll understand and appreciate the way they’ll be empowered and how the workplace will make them feel, which is a huge determining factor for people who want jobs they love.
5. Write Competitive Job Ads
Even if people have never heard of you, they’ll be willing to do some research when they see a job posting that looks promising. Check out your competitors on job boards and use them as a basis of comparison. You’ll be able to effectively emphasize what makes you different. You may not be stacked with cash, but there are other perks and advantages you might be able to provide that they don’t mention in their ads.
6. Hire Based on Recommendations and Referrals
If you already have one talented person on staff, ask them about their friends. Talented people often went to school with or previously worked with more talented people – they have a tendency to grow and thrive together. Ask your current top talent if they have any recommendations of people they’d like to bring into the game. You already know they’ll get along well, and you have firsthand testimony regarding their professional abilities.
It’s worthwhile to wait longer to find top talent for your startup – you’re only as great as the people who build you up. Even if it takes while, the ends will justify the means. Be patient, be picky, and jump at the opportunity to onboard highly talented individuals when you find them.
Evie Cooper is an experienced team leader, and an avid business blogger who often shares her stories, tips and suggestions online. Currently, Evie is writing on behalf of UkAreaCode and Postcode-Checker – online knowledge libraries. Feel free to reach out to her on @CooperEviee.