Startups 101
5 Tips for Startup Hiring

5 Tips for Startup Hiring

Written by 
Jeff Arnold
March 14, 2022
5 Tips for Startup Hiring

Hiring the right people can be a long and sometimes difficult process, especially when the labor market is tight and there’s stiff competition for top-tier talent.

It’s a struggle that can be particularly tough when your startup is rapidly growing and you’re trying to attract top talent.

To that end, here are a few quick recruiting tips for founders of early-stage startups who may be entering uncharted waters. For even more insights, such as how to improve your sell call, focus on the right metrics, and promote company benefits that aren’t tied to compensation, check out Pilot’s webinar with Brex and Carta on recruiting tactics to help you win

Tip #1: Be as rigorous about tracking your recruiting metrics as you would your sales metrics.

At scale, the math behind recruiting is similar to sales. Once you know your ideal funnel (how many candidates you need to fill your open positions) and the metrics you should focus on, you can build out your ideal sell call.

Tip #2: Know how to explain the potential of your equity.

Although some candidates have some conception of startup equity before they speak with you (especially those in tech-focused geographies), many candidates will have misconceptions and it’s always helpful to be prepared with both written and verbal materials for further explaining the equity.  (There are some important best practices to follow with this process, so pay attention to those or speak with your counsel to avoid issues).  Make sure that candidates are thinking about the future value of the equity in a sophisticated way rather than thinking about it as a lottery ticket.

Tip #3: Don’t forget to sell what makes you unique.

Even if your cash pay is at 95th percentile of the market, you should always be prepared for the possibility that great talent will be able to find some position out there that offers more cash.  What about your company makes you stand out as a great place to work?  For many companies, this is an emphasis on the company’s mission and the experience/impact that the candidate would have at this company. 

Tip #4: Know the importance of investing in your employer brand.

Much has been written on employer brand and the benefits. It’s critical you have this in place for when candidates research your company, and it can also boost employee retention. You want high quality candidates that are the right fit for your company from the start to ensure a longer lasting working relationship.

Tip #5: Know when to hire a recruiter, when you can leverage a recruiting agency, and when you must do it yourself.

In the earlier stages, your recruiting as a founder is much like your sales journey as a founder: very early on, it’s best done entirely yourself. You should consider building an in-house team of recruiters as your startup gradually scales over time. In general, this process should be in motion by the time your startup reaches the Series B stage. Even with an in-house recruiting team in place, you may still need recruiting agencies to help fill specialized roles for some time.

Lean on Pilot for more recruitment advice

Attracting talent, creating a decent pool of qualified candidates, and hiring the right people is a challenge for any company.  

With a little bit of experience and some trial and error along the way, you can develop a repeatable process to source candidates, pique their interest, convey the value of your company, and track the success of your recruitment efforts. Be sure to check out our upcoming webinar on March 23rd with Brex and Carta to discover additional recruiting tactics to help you win. Register now → 

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