Startup Resources: Recruiting for a Startup

By Fernando Berrocal

Many entrepreneurs believe that there are just two essential startup skills: Creating a fantastic product with a clear product/market fit and putting together a sales and marketing engine. However, there has been a significant hiring crisis in recent years, hurting startups' ability to deliver products on schedule and denying them the expertise they need to advertise and sell those products. The rise of startups over the last few years has resulted in a severe skills shortage. The demand for these items has far outpaced supply.

startup recruiting



It's no longer shocking to learn that hiring consumes up to 70% of a startup's time. There are lots of candidates available, but selecting the proper one is challenging. The recruitment process has altered in a significant way: the best individuals are nearly never on the market, and you'll need to create recruiting methods to identify them. In many situations, it will take months or years of cultivating a connection with these individuals to reach a point where they are willing to explore a shift. Due to the startup’s fierce competition for the best prospects, closing them requires more selling effort than in the past.

This leads to the conclusion that there is now a third important startup skill to learn: recruitment. Until the business grew to a certain size, it was usually sufficient to engage with outside agencies for most recruitment requirements. This technique no longer works in major tech hubs, and the most successful startups are those who invest early in establishing in-house recruitment capabilities. Unfortunately, recruitment is not a talent taught in college or at the finest business schools. Some venture capital firms have attempted to provide in-house hiring services to their portfolio businesses. It makes a lot of sense to have a senior member of your venture capital fund advising and working on a few key executive appointments. Beyond that, it's believable that in the best interests of businesses to build this muscle inside.

The Recruiting Funnel: This is a method of attracting new employees in today's ever-changing marketplace. Recruiting, like sales and marketing, is a funnel process that requires attention at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnels (ToFU, MoFU, and Selling respectively), as well as a fourth phase, On-Boarding, once you have successfully hired someone.

Sourcing is the primary bottleneck at the Top of the Funnel: The most difficult element of recruitment is the top of the funnel - sourcing: locating people with the necessary skills and abilities. Using job advertisements and external recruiters used to make this a lot simpler. Today, finding talented engineers, marketers, and executives who aren't already employed by another business is nearly impossible. As a result, startups must target passive prospects and go through a sales process to persuade them to first speak with them, and then quit their present positions.

Selling and Evaluating in the Middle of the Funnel:  In the past, evaluating the applicant was the sole purpose of the center of the funnel. However, in today's marketplace, many of the individuals you find will be content in their existing positions and not wanting to change. As a result, I propose that you establish a strategy for continuing to foster and sell passive candidates to get a smaller number of them to the stage where they are eager to speak with you. Often, the early interactions would focus on persuading people to apply for the position rather than interviewing and evaluating them. The recruiter's duty during this phase is to arrange for executives and others to perform the selling and evaluating, gather feedback, and handle contact with the applicants.

Selling and Closing at the Bottom of the Funnel:  The goal of the bottom of the funnel is to close the applicants who have made it through the evaluation process. Startups frequently make the mistake of underestimating the amount of effort required to close a candidate. This is especially true for positions at the executive level. Make sure you understand all of your candidate's decision-making criteria, what they care about most, and where your business sits in comparison to their other alternatives, just like you would in any good sales process. Recognize whether or not their partner or significant other has influenced their decision. If that's the case, invite both of you out to dinner so you can sell your significant other. Use dinners instead of meetings or lunches for more senior employees, since they are a fantastic way to establish a casual atmosphere free of time constraints.

On-Boarding: After you've invested so much time and effort into finding outstanding candidates, it's only natural to want to get them up and running as quickly as possible. The significance of performing well in this area cannot be overstated. It can have a significant impact on productivity in areas such as sales and development. It's simple to appreciate the value of effective onboarding for other jobs, such as customer success, where new workers will interact with your consumers.

startup recruiting


To summarize, it's no longer enough to be an expert at creating things that your customers want and to understand how to promote, sell, and keep these customers using a repeatable and scalable process. There is now a third skill you must master: how to create a recruitment engine capable of landing the top talent in a highly competitive environment. This is a function that virtually every element of the organization must be associated with for it to work, but it also functions best when the function is owned by a single individual. It's more beneficial for this person to be a recruiter than a recruitment manager in the beginning. But it's much better if they can manage other recruiters when they join later on, as well as be an active recruiter in the beginning.

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