Some startups are a one-person operation and you, the founder, is all the workforce your startup will need to succeed. Perhaps it will be able to survive with just you and your co-founder doing the job. However, it is far more likely that, sooner or later, you will need to hire new people for your startup and that you not know where to start. More dangerously, you will have no idea about how to attract top talent, those people who really know their job and who can take your startup to a whole new level.
Luckily, there are quite a few things you as a startup owner can do to attract just the type of employee.
Have a Clear Business Plan
There are innumerable startups out there and for someone who has skills that are highly sought-after, like a coder or a data analyst, there is really no shortage of career choices. One thing that may attract them to your startup, specifically, is if you can provide them with a clear business plan that is based on data and realistic projections. Do not rely on commonplace phrases like "disruption", "the Uber of this or that", "a paradigm-shifting idea" or anything like that. Show them how you plan on attracting investors and generating revenue.
As a young startup, you will not be able to hand out amazing monthly salaries and bonuses. In fact, your earliest employees will have to work for much less than they would at already established companies. One thing that those companies cannot offer them are the share options that will one day be worth something. As a startup owner, you can do this. Of course, you cannot go on to give every early employee a set of stock options that will hand them control over your company, but providing reasonable options will make them feel much more invested in the future of the startup.
Recruit Them While They're Young
Experienced professionals who have had plenty of success in their industry will probably not be too excited to work for a startup whose future is uncertain and that has not yet even become profitable. Also, like we mentioned, the pay will not be that great. This is why you will want to look for talented but inexperienced professionals. Perhaps you might even hire graduates who have shown great promise in college. This way, you are getting employees who are hungry for success and they get a chance to land their first job.
Establish a Great Culture
Since you will not be able to match the bigger companies with the money you offer and benefit packages, you might start thinking of establishing a great culture within your startup. For example, let potential candidates know that you are flexible about work hours, that hierarchy is not set in stone and that the atmosphere is great at the office. Use social media and your blog to show off how much you appreciate your employees. Try to get them engaged as well. Small gestures like Christmas gift cards can also go a long way towards putting smiles on people's faces and getting them to talk positively about your company.
Let them Improve
One of the worst things about working for a large, established company is that you are stuck in a single role until you spend enough time to get a promotion and then settle in another role. People do not want this, especially in a startup and you need to make sure that your potential candidates know you handle things differently. For example, you should run a startup where people are encouraged to learn new skills and become better at the skills they already possess. Once potential employees learn your company is built around this, they will start flocking to your door.
Tell Them It Will Be Hard
You do not want your startup full of people who will shy from challenge and who will come in every day just to get a check at the end of the month. You need people who will work for your startup because they know it will be hard and they will need to give their everything for your startup to grow and flourish. You should always point out that you are looking for people who are brave enough to take on something they cannot take on anywhere else. This way, you will be really attracting only the most talented and the most fearless in the industry.
In other words, that is how you will be attracting top talent.
Also published on Medium.