Startups vs recruiting: Everything they do wrong

The toughest job of any startup founders and operators is recruiting, this is an incredible issue because growth depends on strategy and execution and both need skilled talent. Startups struggle mainly because they use out-of-date recruiting tools, hire too fast (without much due diligence), fire too slow, and give too much (in terms of compensation packages). Therefore, professional assistance and guidance are needed early. Without professional assistance and guidance startup leaders are exposed to major recruiting mistakes. Professional firms will help startup leaders learn about the most common recruiting mistakes and how they can be prevented. Let’s look at the top 10 most serious recruiting errors that are made by startup leaders and their hiring managers (John Sullivan – 2017).

Startups underestimate the economic damage from weak recruiting

Every single position in a startup is critical, when recruiting is unsuccessful or when a new hire does not fit well either with the team or the position the money and time loss cannot be recouped. Funding is critical for every startup, funding is based on results and results are measured against time. Therefore, no recruits or weak recruits impact the bottom line and impact future capital raising.

Startups fail to identify where the problem is in the funnel/recruiting process

A young company must identify why the recruiting funnel is not generating results. Is it because:

  • Your startup is not well known
  • You are not getting enough applicants
  • You are getting low-quality applicants
  • You are mis-assessing candidates
  • You are failing to effectively sell them

All recruiting phases of the recruiting process must be analyzed so you can understand what is not working. Partner with people or organizations that will learn over time as sometimes the hiring manager you have in place don’t have the expertise or the time to recruit effectively.

Startups do not turn every employee into a 24/7 talent scout using referrals

Did you know that employee referrals are the fastest way to attract quality talent? Every employee must be educated on how and where to find and attract top candidates they must become a 24/7 talent scout. Teach them on how to assess every referral on their technical skills, their cultural fit, and their willingness to join the company. Recruitment duties and referrals should also be expanded to friends, vendors, relatives, and customers. As a small company, you should use all the members of your network to attract great candidates.

Startups don’t make it easy to “feel the excitement”

To show potential hires how exciting your startup is you can use stories and authentic videos made by your employees. You also need to identify your selling factors, talk to your current employees and ask them why they joined and why they stay.

 Startups fail to fully “understand” their recruiting targets

Your startup must fully understand its target recruits and their “recruiting behavioral profiles”. Conduct a market research that will help you identify:

  1. What specific factors will attract them and turn them off
  2. Where they might find out about job openings
  3. What criteria would they used to accept or reject a job

Startups improperly use fit assessment

Get to know your recruits before declaring that they don’t fit. Give them opportunities to embrace the company culture. Most people can adapt to different cultures. Don’t assume that they don’t fit based on one simple conversation, gauge their employability based on their ability to learn fast and their adaptiveness.

Startups make applying for a job painful

Make the application process very simple, ask for concise questions and ask them for their Linkedin profile. Losing great candidates at the application process can be very painful, so make it simple.

Startup interviews are dull

Don’t engage in traditional interviews. Below are a few things you can do:

  • Shift to a professional conversation
  • Start out by using peer interviews
    • Effective at both assessment and selling the candidate
    • Show them that your company will meet each of their job acceptance criteria
  • Provide profiles of future teammates
  • Give real problems to solve

Startups assess the wrong competencies

Look for competencies that are great predictors of success:

  • Learning ability
  • The ability to adapt and deal with ambiguity
  • The ability to innovate and then execute ideas

Don’t ask for qualifications that are unrealistic and unnecessary. University degrees, grades, the school they attended, and startup job experience don’t mean anything and don’t guarantee success.

Startups fail to fully understand and sell their recruiting advantages

Startup job opportunities are fantastic opportunities, sell candidates on the excitement and make sure they understand that it is an opportunity for them to work with pioneers and risk takers.  The possibility for them to get promoted rapidly is real and as early employees, they will have a chance to become wealthy. Sell them on the fact that they will be part of cross-functional teams and they will have a chance to make high-impact decisions.

Startup Recruiting

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