5 Outside the Box Startup Hiring Strategies

One of the first things a startup founder realizes is that they can’t do it all themselves. If you try to do this, there is probably one eventual outcome; you’ll end up doing some of the things poorly. Since clients and customers have a severe reluctance to patronize organizations that produce shoddy product or services, your first order of business is to hire a team of talented young (or old) whippersnappers who will be instrumental in seeing that your idea makes it to the end of year one. We’re talking about hiring strategies, and here are five of them.


The Funnel Method

This is the anti-interview approach. Maybe you’re in love with long job interviews but how much more sure are you of a potential employee’s suitability for the position after two hours than you were after two minutes? Joel Butterly of InGenius Prep has a different strategy. Cast a wide net and get as many people as he can to take on a trial project for which they will be paid. If they do well, he gives them two more. If they’re still standing after that, they’re hired. How’s that for taking the dreaded job interview completely out of the equation?


Visualize Lunch

Today’s startups often work in close quarters in a large, centralized room. Cubicles are fast becoming a thing of the past. This means that, for better or worse, every team member needs to be able to function in close quarters amidst a variety of personalities. There will be little room for time-wasting clashes. Here’s an exercise to do in your head after meeting a potential employee. Say you had to have lunch with them. Would you look forward to it or immediately start scheduling conflicting activities in order to avoid it? If the answer is the latter, keep looking.


Be the Employee

Before you ever let your first recruit through the front door, take a look around the physical work environment. As a startup, no one expects you to offer the Taj Mahal on day one, but think about it. You’ll be asking people to spend eight hours or more daily in that space. If you want to retain good employees, better make it as appealing and comfortable as you can.


Talk About the Company Culture Early

It should be no surprise that a startup founder is a particular kind of person and probably one with a specific vision of how he or she wants their business climate to feel. Recruits need to know exactly what is expected in the way of rules, regulations, and company policies. Of course, you should dive deeper into the topic through official compliance training but need to start assessing a potential employee’s reactions to the values you hold dear long before they sign on the dotted line.


Recruit in the Right Places

Is it worth your while to post a job advertisement on any (or all) of the global job boards? You know the ones we’re talking about - Indeed, Monster, etc. While we’re not here to say you should ignore this route entirely, here’s something to think about. Unless you just get lucky, the odds of finding a superstar hire in the midst of these thousands of applications is simply not high. A true superstar will be snatched up by someone before they even make it to the job board. You need to be proactive in looking for team members. Check out niche career websites. Place ads on your own website. Most importantly, get on LinkedIn and start stalking the appropriate groups there. That is the place talented people go to get headhunted.


The Bottom Line

It’s perhaps even more critical for a startup to make the right hires out of the gate. Unless you have an endless supply of capital in reserve, which is usually not the case, it’s imperative to hit the ground running and make quick success a priority. To do that, you need the right people.

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Comment by Keith D. Halperin on September 25, 2017 at 5:58pm

Thanks, Devin. Another way would be to hire quickly through minimizing the number of interviews and interviewers and making it clear to hiring managers that they are there to "hire" and not "NOT hire".


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