20 Key Principles of Recruiting and Talent Management: Part One of Two

Keys to Success in Startup Hiring


Business success or failure is driven by several factors. Among the ones right at the top: recruiting and talent management.

This is amplified in growing startups. Each hire is expected to not only excel in their professional area of expertise but must pitch in and handle all sorts of responsibilities they wouldn’t at large enterprises and established firms. And once hired, it’s essential that your organization retain them and not lose them to an industry competitor.

Winning companies have excellent staff up and down their payroll. And companies without the right people in the right positions have very little chance of success. We want your growing organization to succeed! That’s why HireLabs has compiled a list of 20 principles that will help you design and implement effective recruiting strategies and approaches.

  1. Be Strategic. Recruiting efforts must be founded upon clearly-defined strategies that illustrate the brand message, target candidates, primary sources, and most-effective closing approaches. Poorly-defined strategies result in wasted resources and weak hires. The best strategies are agile and able to adapt to changing economic environments and fluctuating candidate demand.

  2. Build a Strong Pipeline. Strong recruiting approaches benefit from a steady stream of qualified applicants. To build out a talent pipeline employ a “pre-need” approach that includes workforce planning, branding, continuous sourcing, and onboarding.

  3. Study Your Competition. What are your competitor’s most effective recruiting approaches and how do they compare to your firm’s? What do they do better than you? Where are areas you excel in comparison? Landing the best candidates requires you to know what’s working and what’s not. Firms that grab the top candidates are those that always stay at least one step ahead of their competitors.

  4. Become a “Great Place to Work.” Building a brand as a great employer is the best way to ensure you’ll always have access to the top candidates in the field. Word of mouth via current and former employees is the most direct way, but promoting your company culture across social media and public relations efforts are also key factors in generating needed buzz. Achieving the distinction as an employer where candidates wish to work takes considerable planning and ongoing commitment, but practically guarantees your organization can always tap into the top talent it needs.

  5. Expand Your Reach. Every company has critical roles to fill. Those where top performers can raise an organization to another level. Even if you’re in a talent hotbed like Toronto or Silicon Valley, it’s wise to expand your search nationwide, or even globally if you’re seeking candidates with very specific skills and/or a track record of sustained success.

  6. The Best Candidates are Rarely Looking. You need to develop recruiting processes that can identify and persuade employed individuals who may work at your competitors and not be actively seeking a position. Too often, corporate recruiting approaches are designed to attract “active” candidates, which only provide limited success.

  7. Act Fast. If you think you may have found the right candidate, a quick and compelling offer can be critical when high-demand candidates are ready to make a job switch. Top candidates must be hired using “their” decision timetable. Research shows that top candidates are off the market in less than half of the normal corporate time-to-fill metrics.

  8. Tap into Valuable Sources. Seasoned salespeople know at least half the battle is about the ‘leads.” Or, in the case of recruiting, the “sources” that generate the leads. Ideally, you’ll bask in employee referrals, which are traditionally the most potent source. But top job portals and career networking sites such as LinkedIn can help you find candidates all over the country. If one of your sources draws only mediocre and lesser qualified candidates, however, cut it off and move on to another. It shouldn’t take long to identify where your most qualified candidates are sourced from. When you do, stick with those almost exclusively.

  9. Leverage Analytic Data. To achieve efficiency and effectiveness in your recruiting processes, use recruiting tools and other software programs and databases that can provide insight into your search processes. Correlated data can provide needed objectivity during periods when recruiting endeavors get too thick in the weeds and lose sight of the bigger picture.

  10. Instill Recruiting into Company Culture. Many successful firms foster a “culture of recruiting,” where every manager and employee serves as a recruiter in some capacity or other. Make sure employees keep recruiting goals top of mind so they can play a key role in identifying talent and furthering your employer brand. Recruiting is a 24/7 process, and employees need to remember this as they network and represent the company.

More to Come...

There you have it, the first half of the 20 key principles of recruiting and talent management. Stay tuned, as we’ll soon post the remaining 10 that give you more of the information you need to create and implement winning recruiting strategies.


At HireLabs, we’re always happy to discuss your current recruiting efforts and see if we can provide help. So, contact us anytime to explore how HireLabs can help you meet these key principles and get your talent pipeline flowing. We have vast experience with tech startups, so be sure to check out our recent posts on the challenges startups face in today’s recruiting and how to address them.