startup recruitment advice

Essential Advice for Startup Recruitment

Recruitment can be a sticky subject for startups and SMEs. It’s a big gamble which doesn’t always pay off. Taking on a new person requires an investment of both money and time. A poor hire can make life seriously difficult for businesses. Though, the right employee can hugely impact your company’s success. Here’s some essential advice for startup recruitment from Innovate UK.

“Make hires that can fill skill gaps and complement existing staff to help you reach the next level” – Zac Williams, Founder and Director at GradTouch.

Be Honest About Affordability

A full-time hire is expensive. It’s a huge commitment that you must seriously consider before taking action. It may not be the right choice for you, it certainly isn’t your only option.

More and more startups are turning to freelancers for help. Outsourcing work is both a credible and attractive option. Here are some of the most common reasons why:
• They allow you to use someone with a combination of talent and experience
• You can tap into their skills without committing to future payments
• You can alter their workload to meet business demand

“Growth is not just about profit; bigger budgets allow us to use skilled freelancers, increasing the quality of our output” – Graeme McGowan, Creative Partner at Jamhot.

Hire the Skills You Need

If you do decide to hire someone permanently, it’s important to be sure you’re hiring the right skillset. Where will the employee fit within your company?

Look towards the strengths and weaknesses of your current team. Are there are any obvious areas that needs improvement? Is there anything your company is lacking which could take it to the next level? For example, a tech company may have great software developers but poor business development. This is something which needs resolving as soon as possible.

Explore All Recruitment Channels

So now you’ve decided what core competencies you’re hiring for, you now need to find some candidates. How are you planning to get your vacancy out there? There are a number of options:

• Recruitment agencies
• Job boards
• LinkedIn network
• Social media platforms
• Customers
• Mailing lists
• Internal recommendations
• Promotions

Should you use a recruitment agency? It’s a tough one. Recruitment agencies will make the process far easier though they do come with a hefty cost. This often makes them a less favourable option for startups.

Job boards are another option. The larger ones are more suited to major brands, they tend not to be cost-effective for smaller companies. Niche job boards are a great place to position your vacancy. They tend to be cheaper (sometimes free) and will get your position seen by relevant applicants in your sector.

“Utilising specialist websites for your industry can give quicker access to appropriate skills” – Gary Cassey, MD of Cass Productions.

Don’t forget to look towards your LinkedIn network, your social media following and customers. You could acquire the perfect candidate organically from these platforms.

Consider Employer Branding

What does your recruitment process say about your company? Employer branding is a hugely important factor that you shouldn’t ignore. The way you market your company as an employer will affect the type of applicants you see. You should try to reflect your company culture and identity in every aspect of the recruitment process. Above all, look for an employee who finds this appealing.

Scrutinise Your Applicants

Core competencies are important but can also be learnt. Personal traits and characteristics are far more difficult to alter. What do you want to see from the ideal applicant? If you’re unsure about this, look towards other successful entrepreneurs and businesses. For instance, CEO of RULE Recruitment, James Vizor, has this to say, “99% of being successful is about having the right attitude. Those people can learn new skills”.

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Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.