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  • Nicky Webster-Hart

Recruiting in a start up isn't easy - here's how to avoid the common hiring mistakes.

We understand that being a start-up is tough. Cashflow is King and every penny counts. In a classic chicken/egg scenario you need talent to build your business and for it to grow but equally hiring mistakes can break/end your business.

Recruiting in a start-up isn’t easy. At Auxeris we understand this well so here is a guide to avoid common hiring mistakes.

Bring in the professionals

Your company's success depends on the talent needed so it can grow and become successful so why leave this to enthusiastic amateurs within your business? If you are not an expert, experienced recruiter then bring in someone who is. Your business needs it. Take some time to work with them so they can understand your business, where it is going, its culture and dynamic and find you the talent you need.

Understand who you are looking for

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 and are not afraid to roll up their sleeves. 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?

So now that you have identified the type of person that you need to attract to your start up, where do you find them? Job boards are a start but applicants aren’t all 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 their multiple stakeholder business they may have been operating within. Get an experienced recruiter to do the sifting and vetting and pre-interviewing.

Pro tips on avoiding common hiring mistakes

Auxeris have come up with some general advice to avoid making costly hiring mistakes which we wanted to share:

  • Respond quickly and politely.

  • Work with an experienced recruiter.

  • Treat your candidates as if they were clients.

  • Sell/pitch your business.

  • Offer all calls/video call options to fit in with the candidate’s schedule.

  • Ensure the right people are talking to the candidates - can they effectively assess talent and cultural fit? Is there someone better suited (if this was a client then only the best would be interacting with them).

  • Appreciate and be respectful and mindful that the candidate may have other options and that essentially they are looking for the opportunity that is right for them.

  • Communicate and keep on communicating.

  • Pay attention to market rates on salaries and pay what the role is worth, not what you want to pay.

  • Move quickly and have a slick process. If any of your team are dragging their feet then they are not the right people to be involved in the hiring process. Their delay is costing your business money.

  • Do not play games when you get to the offer stage. It will backfire on you and they will walk away. If you are still an organisation that does this then you are tragically out of touch, and no matter how good your benefits package is remember most candidates want to be paid what they are worth, will absolutely know the market rates and rarely change jobs without an uplift in base.

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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