Part Two of Two: Startup DNA

10 Challenges Startups Face When Recruiting Today

In our most recent blog post we covered five top challenges that startups need to address if they expect to find, recruit and retain the kind of talent needed to grow and become successful.

The points we covered earlier focus on candidates’ attributes, and what you—as a startup employer—can do to ensure you’re meeting the right kinds of candidates, asking them the right questions, and making offers to ones who’ll be the best fit and make contributions long-term. Rounding out the top 10 challenges, however, are five that pertain to processes and how to approach recruiting as an endeavor rather the type of candidate you hope to bring on board.

6. Reduce Time-To-Hire

Once you decide to pull the trigger and make a hire or two, as a startup you need to set your sight on landing candidates as soon as you reasonably can. Looking for the “perfect candidate” could mean keeping the position open too long and missing out on needed productivity. And if you don’t find the right candidate right away, try to accelerate the process. Don’t feel pressured to make a bad hiring decision, but a sense of urgency is a good thing and will serve you and your company well.

7. But Show Patience When Needed

Many startups in particular--deal with "the warm body syndrome." Instead of hiring people who fit and are qualified for certain positions, people are brought in simply because they're convenient and cost-effective. At first, this may not seem like a problem, but down the road, most of these warm bodies end up dragging down your business more than providing a return. A bad hire is magnified in a startup.

"Like any bad habit, the warm body syndrome is hard to break," entrepreneur Danielle Gal explains. "The key is creating a new pattern for hiring that is focused on value rather than time constraints. Creating a detailed job description through a job analysis is crucial."

It's also smart to hire people with experience handling the kinds of responsibilities and tasks that you'll be assigning them. As Gal says, "The position should not be molded to fit the candidate's competencies."

8. Make a Holistic Assessment of Soft Skills

Successful startups usually measure people on four things: (1) attitude; (2) learned qualities; (3) maturity; and (4) communication abilities. All of these are meaningful attributes to measure regardless of the role or function for which you’re hiring.  While good communications skills go a long way in positions related to sales, business development and customer service, having the right attitude is a transferable quality that applies to candidates for every role, and is often a good indicator of their future potential.  The Bottom line? Startups must hire holistically.

9. Offer Competitive Packages

For companies in the always-booming tech industry, and those operating in niche markets requiring specialized skills, the competition is stiff. In Silicon Valley, Toronto, or Seattle, and other cities where tech firms thrive and the city’s culture speaks to Millennials, premium salaries are a given, so companies must put together compelling combinations of perks and benefits to be competitive.

It’s hard for startups to compete against industry leaders as far as salary and benefits, but they can compete in other ways. But stock options go a long way in landing the talent you need. What typically gets candidates excited about joining a startup is its upside potential. As early employees, they may be perfectly happy to work in a culture they enjoy for smaller paychecks if they believe in your firm and know they will be generously rewarded long term should it go public or get bought out.

10. Leverage Recruiting and Tracking Tools

Managing your hiring processes is a challenge without the latest powerful recruiting tools in your arsenal. Without them, sorting through candidate lists becomes exponentially more difficult and it’s easy to lose touch with candidates just when you need to reach out the most. But, as we detailed in prior posts, even the better applicant tracking systems, such as those using AI, aren’t a panacea. To gain optimal value from these packages companies must augment them with other strategies and processes.  Check out our blog with a list of tools that can help you manage your workflow.


Let Us Help with Your Recruiting Challenges

The life of a startup is exciting, but it comes with challenges—and the 10 we’ve listed here are just a start. We know startups, and we know the types of professionals who thrive in startup environments and are the best fit for its hectic but rewarding culture. You see, at HireLabs, we have a vast recruiting network and decades of experience staffing growing tech companies from coast to coast.

To discuss how we can help you meet these recruiting challenges, please contact us anytime.