Launching a great startup requires an amazing technical team, but recruiting technical personnel has become more challenging and costly as each day passes. As startups try to grow and compete with larger companies for recruitment, they often face the challenge of competing with companies that have more budgets and better-known brands.
There is currently a severe shortage of programmers, as the demand for innovative IT solutions has increased dramatically over the past decade while the supply of skilled workers has not kept pace. Almost every startup is either deeply technical or a technology-driven business, and the fiercely competitive human resources market, coupled with high salaries for top professionals, has made it increasingly difficult to build great teams for start-ups.
The competition to attract technical personnel is not new, and the “war for manpower” has only intensified in recent years. Recruiting a great team is very difficult, and keeping the team is expensive, as developers are more likely to switch jobs and seek out new challenges. According to a report by the DCI in 2019, 40% of survey participants check for new job opportunities on a weekly or even daily basis, and professionals are no longer willing to stay in one place just because of a good salary. They are seeking technical challenges, mentorship, and opportunities to impact the world.
A study by LinkedIn found that more than 54% of professionals leave their companies due to a lack of career development. Other important reasons for leaving a job include poor management, lack of cultural fit, lack of challenging tasks, lack of satisfaction with job benefits, and lack of rewards and appreciation.
Given all of these challenges, do startups stand a chance in the recruitment war? While large tech companies may have an advantage in terms of salary and benefits, startups can still attract top developers if they do it right. In this article, we will examine how startups can get an advantage in the recruitment war and how to build a great technical team.
How to get an advantage in recruitment war?
Whether you’re in explosive growth or just starting out, these strategies will help you win the recruiting competition.
1. Agile and Innovative Recruitment Strategies for Startups
Startup businesses can benefit from speed and innovation, and this can start with the recruitment process.
Speed: Agility allows startups to stay ahead of competitors whose interview process takes weeks to complete. It is suggested that startups use their small size to their advantage in the hiring process and quickly select great candidates. Sometimes it is even necessary to propose the start of cooperation on the same day that the right person is identified.
Interview Process: Many software engineers complain about interviewing with people who don’t know the job well. Choosing the right interviewers and reducing the waiting time for candidates will create a positive feeling in the interviewee and prevent wrong decisions by both parties. If the company’s founders or managers participate in the recruitment process at the beginning, it can have a positive effect on the correct understanding of the company’s vision and not create the feeling that this is just another company.
Workforce Monitoring: Workforce monitoring should be a permanent activity in the company, not just a temporary move to fill vacancies. This means that the workforce monitoring activity needs careful planning and complicates the role of human resources specialists. It is recommended that startups use internal human resources forces that are 100% in harmony with the company’s vision, rather than just receiving commissions. This ensures that everyone is pursuing the same goal of recruiting the best developers, not the ones that are easiest to find.
Recruiting Criteria: Gartner recommends an evidence-based approach to recruiting for greater impact. This strategy is based on market analysis and forecasting and is designed to not only meet the needs of the current workforce, but also to respond to changing market demands in a timely manner. The evidence-based method promotes objectivity and removes biased effects from the whole process. This will ensure that startups don’t miss out on great candidates and hire mediocre people just because they “look like the interviewer”. The principles of this strategy include using data and evidence instead of opinions, identifying the characteristics required for work positions, and implementing criteria to evaluate and improve the results of the recruitment process.
Benefits: There is also the possibility of innovation in the benefits system, especially in the early stages. Paul Graham has a famous saying, “Do things that don’t scale!” And this applies to the hiring process and benefits system as well. The biggest advantage that startup founders have is their time. It is recommended that the founders interview candidates in person and gather information about their interests, family, and hobbies. With this information, founders can implement a benefits system based on what people really care about and enjoy. This is especially important when starting to build a team.
2. Attracting Top Talent with a Strong Company Mission and Culture
When searching for a new job, candidates prefer companies that understand their mission and align with their mindset. Employees who care about the company’s mission will be more goal-oriented and committed to the organization, and are likely to stay with the business for a longer period of time. Challenges also play a very important role, as a lack of challenging work has been a common reason for tech workers to leave their jobs.
Jim Collins has a famous quote that “a great vision is meaningless without great people”, but at the same time, you can’t use passionate and talented people without offering them something in return. This is especially important for startups, whose strength is often their vision and opportunity.
To be successful in the recruitment process, startups should first develop a clear mission statement so that candidates understand the company’s vision and goals. It is helpful to have someone from the company, ideally one of the founders, to talk about the vision and goals with every job candidate. It is also important to share examples of the company’s successes and to develop a culture within the organization that supports and challenges employees. If the startup has a venture capitalist, it can also use this to increase its credibility in the eyes of job candidates. By demonstrating a commitment to the company’s goals, startups will find it easier to attract top talent.
3. Employee Referrals and Social Media Advocacy: Key Strategies for Startup Recruitment
Top-notch developers know their fellow programmers, so your employees can be a valuable recruitment route. One of the benefits of having happy and engaged employees is that they can help managers create a career path within the company by referring their friends and former colleagues. To take advantage of this, it is necessary to implement a candidate referral program for current employees, which rewards the referrer for each successful recruitment.
In addition to introducing and referring job candidates, engaged employees can have a positive impact on the public perception of your startup. With the popularity of social media, many people are eager to share their opinions and experiences with their networks. About 50% of users publish content related to their work on these platforms. These are the people who can become advocates for your company. In this case, they will be much more actively involved in their work and more likely to promote the company on social media and in the real world.
Employees create a human face for the company and help it stand out among other businesses. Telling them the story of the company and how they impact the company is a great way for people to feel a sense of connection and mutual understanding with the business. Empower your employees to represent you and showcase your achievements. This can be done through publishing articles, podcasts, or similar methods. By doing this, you will be recognized as a reputable employer.
4. Building a Dedicated Remote Team for Startup Recruitment Success
As human resources recruitment becomes more competitive, startups can gain an advantage by looking beyond their own company environment for human resources. These people may cost less and have the same expertise as similar professionals in big cities.
Some large companies outsource the services they need in the form of a project that often involves side work. This work is a temporary solution that is not suitable for startups because the work is being done, but the team that should be behind the work has not been created. On the other hand, you have little or no control over the development process.
To grow and retain technical staff, startups must include remote software engineers in their hiring cycle in the long term. The easiest way to do this is to form a dedicated development team that works remotely. The dedicated remote team model is much more flexible than the old outsourcing model because it allows the internal team to be expanded with experts from other locations who are fully committed to the company’s mission.
Here is a list of characteristics that differentiate a dedicated team from outsourcing:
- Long-term collaboration: Dedicated teams are an extension of your internal development team and are built with a long-term goal in mind.
- Full control: Interacting with a dedicated team is no different from communication with internal team members.
- Transparency: In this case, the employer knows exactly who they are paying and can promote specific team members at their discretion.
- Scalability: Dedicated teams are easily scalable and recruitment within them can be outsourced.
- Cultural fit: A good dedicated team embraces the company’s current mindset, mission, and values.
- Productivity in terms of time and cost: Dedicated remote teams have lower costs than the company’s internal software engineers, which can sometimes reduce manpower costs by 60-70%.
- Motivation and staff retention: A dedicated team can work in a dedicated space with a business brand. These teams are under the care of the company to maintain the motivation of the personnel.
In short, it can be said that the dedicated remote team is a powerful solution for winning the war for specialized personnel. This method works well for long-term projects, such as startups working on large and complex platforms, and provides a great advantage in recruitment for the business.
The Final word
Startups struggle to recruit and retain technical staff due to fierce competition in the job market and high salaries offered by large companies. To win the recruitment war, startups should use agile and innovative recruitment strategies, such as speeding up the interview process, choosing the right interviewers, and implementing a long-term workforce monitoring program. They should also adopt an evidence-based approach to recruiting, with criteria based on market analysis and forecasting, and consider offering benefits that cater to the interests and needs of their employees. Startups can also consider building a dedicated remote team, which can be more cost-effective and scalable than traditional outsourcing methods.