Startups are at a disadvantage when it comes to recruitment when compared to their more established counterparts. While corporate companies can survive even with a few wrong hires onboard, startups can’t because each employee’s contribution is essential to keep their business afloat. In addition, young startups typically do not have the benefit of recognition or an established brand name, will struggle to attract hires because of the inherent risk involved with their business, may be inexperienced about what role to hire for or how to go about the recruitment process and don’t have adequate knowledge/awareness about the local job market.

What Channels Are Most Effective for Recruiting of Top Talent for a Startup?

© | baranq

In spite of all the challenges involved, a startup can easily and successfully recruit a great team just by using the right tools. Through this article, you’ll learn about 1) worldwide recruitment trends for 2014, 2) 10 best channels for recruiting top talent for a startup.


Employer branding

“Employer branding” is a term referring to a company or organization’s entire efforts to promote itself (or present and manage an image of being) a desirable place to work or the employer of choice to a preferred target group of potential hires which it desires to recruit and retain. In 2014, employer branding figures as a key long-term recruitment tactic. A 2011 LinkedIn study of more than 2000 recruiters found that cost per hire and turnover rates for companies with solid employer brands are respectively more than two times lower and 28 times lower when compared to those companies with not so strong employer brand.

Startups can consider branding themselves by highlighting benefits such as flexibility, broader business exposure, opportunities, transparency, teamwork, and camaraderie.

Data is a driver

Data-driven insights and decision making are an important factor in employer brand building and drawing the services of top employees. Even though the majority of business functions moved over to the data-driven model, the practice is conspicuously not so common within recruiting. Leading organizations are currently utilizing or have already utilized Google Analytics for assistance with strengthening their strategy for talent acquisition.

One example of a company with a data-driven recruitment approach is the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the world’s most dynamic and biggest hotel management companies. In order to broaden their audience demographics and increase their number of website visitors, the company recently re-launched its career site. They joined hands with Weber Shandwick to come up with an employer value proposition that would echo well with their niche audience. Google Analytics were introduced on practically all the website’s pages. Data produced by the site was then studied to know more about the nature of public interaction with their website, where talent is located, and the determination of potential hires who matched the hotel group’s employer value proposition.

Intensification of competition for the best talent

2014 is a year of return to vigorous recruiting competition. The increasing competition for technical talent and top performers would reach such an extent that current tools and recruiting resources would be stretched to their maximum. Characteristic of the increased competition is a return to prominence of: aggressiveness, higher rejection rates, a requirement for counter offers and fresh focus on hiring the currently employed. Heightened competition results in a need to find out new recruiting strategies to get the benefit of competitive talent.

Progress of online candidate assessment towards the mainstream

With online skill assessment and technical knowledge options becoming less costly and more effective, online candidate assessment is progressing to the mainstream. The impact of this kind of assessment is high owing to the fact that it lessens unnecessary interviews and can considerably better the quality of hire.

Social media has an increasing influence on quality of hire

In spite of the administrative and legal challenges involved, an increasing number of firms believe that a social media profile (typically LinkedIn profile) on its own is more than sufficient at least to initiate the hiring process. According to a Social Recruiting Activity report from Bullhorn, a global recruitment software company, close to all (97 percent) U.S recruiters utilized LinkedIn for social recruitment in 2014. If one wishes to get the best talent out there, ideally, social media should be one of the channels leveraged.

Comprehension and increased adoption of the mobile platform

A recent study on job search traffic for survey data and smart phones for the recruitment website Indeed revealed that 50 percent of global job searches on the website are carried out through mobiles. Indeed, in 2014, the impact of the mobile platform in the area of hiring is growing and expanding. One can expect main-streaming of the technical capability which permits the direct instant application for vacancies from mobile phones.

Tools for mobile recruitment can be chiefly categorized into four – Quick response (QR) codes, apps, text alerts, and mobile-optimized websites. Unfortunately, optimization of websites for the mobile platform and a tailored mobile experience is an area that is often neglected by many corporate career sites even though the job board sites themselves are mobile friendly. This year, a comprehension of how visitors utilize mobile and ensuring that the mobile website experience matches the quality of its computer counterpart should be taken as essential for recruitment marketing and not overlooked.

Data driven recruiting becomes the norm

More and more companies are recruiting their data driven. This means companies try to understand the impact of each employee on the sales or gross margin. By understanding what types of employees contribute the most, companies can hire more efficiently and thereby increase their profits. Common properties of potential employees include but are not restricted to level of education, level of proactivity & engagement, creativity, and loalty.

Boomerang rehires become a principal target

A boomerang rehire is a returning employee – one who worked at a company before, left and is hired again by the old company. The lack of talent will shoot boomerang rehires (one of those sources of the best hires) to importance after years of neglect. The best firms would reinvigorate alumni groups and leverage them to get their very best ex-employees with an established track record to return. Boomerang rehires are considered to be great talent for reasons such as them: being proven top performers with a demonstrated track record, association with a low new-recruit failure rate, possible ability to achieve the minimum expected productivity targets faster or easier than new hires, already matching the company’s culture, and being more likely to stay.

Startup recruiting trends like: skills profile and roles

Some of the startup recruiting trends for this year are:

More recruitment of MBAs

According to a 2013 survey covering 84 business schools, 57 percent of the schools said that companies that were in existence for only a year or under had increased their full-time hiring of MBAs.

Filling roles of growth engineers and big data developers

Some of the most difficult roles to fill in include those that never existed two or three years ago:

  • Growth engineers or growth hackers that can drive viral characteristics within a product
  • Big data developers and analysts who can develop suitable algorithms and data infrastructure to efficiently leverage and study that data

Looking for hires who excel in fast growing environments and platforms

These environments and platforms include: Scala, iOS, full-stack Python, Android and Node.js developers experienced in developing applications that scale well.

Quantitative analysis

The majority, if not all functions call for quantitative skills in 2014. It is challenging to bring in quantitative skills into functions that presently don’t focus there. This calls for both creativity and time. It would be a good idea to launch a new quantitative function with gems from other areas in your organization. You can also speak to your data scientist about introducing and interviewing candidates.


1. Employee referrals

Employee referrals have been and will continue to be one of the top channels for acquiring top talent for a startup. Employees generally only refer people who they are certain would be a good fit, co-operative, hardworking, and an asset to the organization for the particular position. This may be because they are subjecting their own reputation to risk when they refer someone. The organization benefits from great talent and a reduction in expenses and time associated with recruitment.


  • Offer rewards and/or recognition (monetary rewards are best) to employees who refer successful hires for your openings. Consider giving out smaller rewards to people who gave you a referral even though the person was not taken into service.
  • Publicize the rewards and recognition on offer so that your employees would be more enthusiastic about referrals. They can be publicized on your company’s career page, in newsletters, blogs, marketing campaigns, and even on your Facebook page, if applicable.
  • Develop a form for employee referrals which new employees can fill in with a list of prospective hires they know and their contact details.

2. Company website

A company webpage(s) is a great and practically no-cost place to speak out about why prospective hires should consider working for your company (such as career growth, job atmosphere, salary, and perks).


  • Incorporate a button on the homepage that would take the website visitor to career opportunities/vacancies.
  • Offer multiple options by which candidates can communicate their contact details or other information to you (phone, fax, online, in person, and so on).
  • Current vacancies can be advertised on the website but at the same time never mention that no positions are presently available with your company. By doing so, you may be missing out on some very valuable talent who could contribute much to your company’s progress.

3. Social media and professional networks

Properly managed social recruitment techniques enable employers and recruiters to get the attention of and hire highly qualified candidates, with greater reach and less cost than conventional recruiting methods.


  • With respect to attracting candidates, some of the things you can consider talking about through your company page on various social media are: what’s unique about your company’s culture, what is the experience of working at your company (can include things like building tours and interviews with employees), community news, industry news, questions to your audience (such as any one thing they wish to know about your firm, a great interview tip), and of course, job openings.
  • You can also know more about the personality of prospective hires by way of their social media profiles which will help you decide whether to accept (factors such as creativity and great communication skills) or reject (factors such as provocative content posts, lies about qualifications) candidates based on what their profiles reveal.
  • Observe and recognize activities across your different social media networks. Candidate questions, responses, comments and other interactions will help to understand what areas your social recruitment efforts should focus on.
  • LinkedIn dominates among online professional network options to find prospective hires but it would do well to incorporate social media plarforms like Facebook and Twitter too in your recruitment efforts.

4. Internet job boards

Of all employees in the U.S., 74 percent are open to a new position if an opportunity were shown to them, or are actively in search of new work. According to The Undercover Recruiter, two-thirds of that percentage utilizes job boards to locate jobs that may be of interest to them. Another finding from the report is that job boards that don’t have an option for candidates to upload their job histories or qualifications were responsible for lowered utility for both candidates and employers.


  • Write and position the ad in such a manner that it lures the right audience.
  • Look for job boards websites.
  • Optimize the use of added extras such as hosted forums. These forums are a platform for jobseekers to ask questions, thereby giving employers like you an opportunity to deliver feedback as well as develop relationships beyond online.
  • Look for a job board(s) that supports features such as social integration and mobile access so that you have maximum reach.

5. Internal recruitment

Internal recruitment involves evaluating one’s own current staff to see if any of them are suitable to fill a vacant job position. This kind of recruitment as opposed to external recruitment is associated with benefits such as the following:


  • Management has a good understanding of the employee’s capabilities.
  • Existing staff get new opportunities (or career growth) which in turn boosts staff dedication and retention.
  • Less time and expense are spent on recruitment.
  • Reduction of the knowledge gap –The employee taking over the new post can mentor and train the employee who is to fill his old post.
  • Corporate knowledge remains in-house.

6. Recruitment agencies / Headhunters

A recruitment agency is a good option to consider when you are short of time to hire for the vacancy, have not been able to fill the vacancy for quite some time, don’t have internal HR or have noticed high turnover rates for the vacancy and require expert assistance. Recruitment agencies are chiefly of two kinds – contingency firms and retained firms. The former type is wholly performance based and you have to pay them only if they are successful in placing an employee with your company. The latter type is contract-based and has to be paid whatever the outcome.


To make the right choice of recruitment firm for your requirement, it would help to ask your shortlisted options questions relating to, for example:

  • How long the agency has been in business
  • How the qualifications of prospective hires are checked
  • What the kind of clients they represent
  • What their degree of collaboration is
  • What their placement success rate is
  • What their billing process is

7. College recruitment programs

Some of the common forms of campus recruitment programs which you can consider include campus interviews, phone interviews, on-site interviews, video interviews, campus career and job fairs, information meetings, career networking programs and off-campus recruiting programs. You can even list internships and jobs straight on the school’s job website, which only the school’s students and alumni can take advantage of. The majority of schools make use of a recruiting job posting service (such as NACElink) to manage their on-site and campus recruiting programs.

In addition to helping enthusiastic and bright newcomers enter your business industry, college recruitment is a channel for attracting low-cost talent, and testing for longer-term capabilities.

8. Company internal candidate / ATS database

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a kind of software application with which employers can process job applications and direct the hiring process. With the information available in the database, you can test applicants, screen them, schedule interviews, mail rejection letters, check references and finish paperwork pertaining to new hires. In addition, skill matching and review of applications is possible, automated messages can be sent to applicants to inform them of receipt of their application and HR personnel can utilize the same information to put successful candidates on the payroll after they are hired.

ATSs can also help employers determine from which source a candidate came to know about the vacancy: whether by way of a referral, job board or other source, identify passive yet talented potential hires, post jobs to many channels including social media, and benefit from features such as customized input forms and automated resume ranking. HR and recruitment departments must optimize use of ATSs not just to search for fresh talent but also to leverage the talent already present in the system.

9. Video interviewing

According to a study conducted in August, 2013 by OfficeTeam, an administrative staffing firm, 63 percent of HR managers in the U.S carry out employment interviews using video, showing an increase by 14 percent from a year ago. In addition to it being a medium favored by the younger generations, video can catch subtle kinds of body language and emotional clues, and also aspects of the candidate’s personality, making it a great recruitment channel.

A number of tools and solutions with which employers can conduct video interviewing, are available. With these tools, you can utilize live or recorded video to do things such as pre-screen prospective hires and/or carry out job interviews. With video interviewing, in the time usually taken for a one-person interview, it is possible to rate, appraise and select several or many of them. Some tools enable asynchronous interviewing. So, usually, candidates can answer a set of questions furnished by the employer with the interview being recorded at a time, and place convenient to them. Some examples of video interviewing platforms from the U.S and U.K are: Zoom, Sonru, InterviewStream, Montage, HireView, Tazio, Jobvite, and LaunchPad Recruits.

10. Trade journals/print newspapers

Recruitment advertising by way of print newspapers and trade journals is still alive. A lot of heavy industry, service and mechanical positions are effectively advertised in local newspapers. The advantages of print advertisements include: the ability to reach a large audience with certain specialized skills and also to cover a large audience in a particular geographic area, newspapers are a considerably lower cost option, and candidates generally believe that any organization which takes the time and effort to advertise in a trade publication or newspaper takes its position on offer seriously.

Before advertising in a local newspaper, check out the paper’s ad format and script your ad with an appearance and size that would attract attention. The ad should be lucid enough in its requirements so that obviously unqualified persons are discouraged from applying. For advertisements in trade publications, consider those publications which you regularly read or scan because the probability is high that job seekers pertaining to your industry are checking them out too. You can also consider print publications that have online versions and check whether your print ad would feature in the online version too, if you’re interested.

How To Recruit Amazing Talent for Your Start Up

In conclusion, it may be said considering that such a wide variety of channels are available for recruitment of top talent, the HR must identify which channels are best for their organization’s requirements and learn to use the selected channels effectively and efficiently.

Best Recruitment Sources for the Start-up Company

[slideshare id=26509079&doc=bestrecruitmentsourcesforstartup-130924141312-phpapp01&w=640&h=330]

Comments are closed.