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  • Rachel Doyle

How to make your start up brand stand out in recruitment

Recruiting as a start up can be challenging with no track record

Image of a jobs board and a hand holding a magnifying glass.

It’s tough, when you’re a start up, you want to get the right skills and expertise on board, you need to find a personality that is able to handle the significant fast pace of a startup. You want someone on your team who understands the businesses demands and the need to scale significantly, while being all hands on deck. You also need someone who can handle change and very quick turnarounds and potentially a change in business direction.

As a start up business you are in the testing phase, you’re proving the model and testing what works. You might find, having gone to market, that the client base is more complex than you had realised, or that with a few tweaks there is a better application for your solution. Being lean gives you the competitive advantage to shift gears quickly and pivot the business direction as and when the business requires or the market demands it. You need a heavy hitting team filled with skilled employees who are going to add value from day one. However a start up isn’t for everyone. Often having the right skills isn’t indicative of being able to operate effectively in a startup. You need to be comfortable managing change and be mindful that the start up may not work; there is the potential for huge reward but high risk too.

How can you find the ideal candidate?

Image of a resume as a graphic with a magnifier glass
Auxeris shares expertise in recruiting for startups

So now that you have identified the type of person that you need to attract to your start up, where do you find them? With little to no brand equity, posting a job on a job board or recruitment platform can be as useful as pinning a flyer to a lamppost. Of those who do notice, they aren’t necessarily the right fit for your business and as a start up the biggest challenge is finding the time to sift through all the spam applications - ugh.

When you are faced with a large number of mismatched applications, it can feel disheartening, particularly when you consider the time involved in reviewing those who have applied. When you are an unknown brand, it can be challenging to attract talent to apply to your role. That’s not to say they are the right person for your business. If they want to have large blue chip corporate businesses on their CV and want to have the safety and security of a large corporate, they aren’t going to be right for your business in any case as it is unlikely they could adjust to the fast paced role. That isn’t to say that people can’t make the switch, it is just a different mindset and type of work than there multiple stakeholder business they may have been operating within.

Are you targeting the right platforms?

Depending on the role you are recruiting for and the type of candidate that you are looking to attract, there might be community or specialist job boards that they do interact with. Much like marketing, you need to know where your customer are, to reach them. In order to have the most successful recruitment campaign, you should spend some time identifying where your ideal type of candidate might hang out, costs vary by platform for advertising and listing a role. If you are looking for someone with experience in startups,or trying to capture the attention of someone who wants to work specifically with a start up, then they may not even be active on the usual job platforms. Generally speaking, businesses either go one of two ways. They start with a few senior figures in the business to get their strategy set and then they identify them to build the team below them. Then depending how the team works, they will either remain in the business or move on as the team they have built is capable of delivering the work and to the strategy.

Make sure you’ve nailed the job advert

However, if you haven’t quite nailed your job advert (which is different to a HR type job description) and if it isn’t engaging enough you’re not going to get many of the right type of applications, worse if you don’t clearly identify the type of skills or experience they need, then you aren’t going to find the type of applicants you want to meet with.

Think about what you can offer that sets you apart

We don’t mean lunchtime yoga sessions, days off for your birthday, free fruit, pool tables or office dogs, we’re talking more meaningful benefits. People are craving wellbeing measures, support and most importantly work life balance. People want to be treated like adults to decide where they do their best work and when. Big drivers at the moment are flexibility. Too long we have dragged ourselves through hours of lost commuting time, wasting money on travelling into city locations when work can be done much better these days.

Don’t mistake, salary is important but it isn’t the be all at the moment

Salary does matter, it is more of an expectation that given the market that we are in, there will be a sensible conversation around remuneration. If you're within touching distance of the behemoths, you might just win over talent with your flexible offering and other benefits - assuming that the competition doesn’t already deliver this. Be aware though, right now, particularly with the level of recruitment and competition, people aren’t going to move for less or the same money. Costs are soaring and if a candidate is moving jobs, one of their motivations will be to earn more money that the 3% pay rise their employer is likely to deliver them. Do your homework and find out what a competitive salary looks like in the sector if you can offer close to it, as well as fully flexible working life then you’re opening up a lot more doors to candidates.

Be comfortable with whatever you decide to offer

It can feel contradictory to a startup that is built on close knit relationships at the beginning. Sometimes there are just the founders and a few employees getting everything off the ground. You have to decide if working mostly remote is right for your business. You can’t go changing your mind on this in a few months as you’re not going to have a team of motivated employees. You have to be comfortable with creating a startup that has fully or 95%+ remote working, with a few visits to the main office. You need to be able to trust that your employees can get on with the work that they are expected to deliver and appreciate that you won’t be able to bounce ideas off each other in the same office. That said, digital tech does enable us to work remotely and connect with teams across the globe and it is worth remembering that there are many teams that work remotely and across borders successfully every day.

To save you time on recruiting (and money) speak to Auxeris

We are a network of specialist recruiters who have experience supporting all types of clients, including start up businesses. Our recruiters are skilled at identifying the best talent for a business based on the recruitment brief and the cultural fit of the business. They will help you identify how best to promote the role you are recruiting, they will know the best platforms to promote this on as well as having their own talent pool of individuals who they have placed or engaged with recently. We charge one fixed fee of 15% on permanent and temporary employees. Find out more about us here and get in touch and see how we can help your business.

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