Startup Recruiting: 9 Hacks for Finding Explosive Talent

If you’re looking to build an explosive startup, one that grows by nature and in ways that sometimes surprise you, then you need to start looking at hiring as a growth hack.

When you hire the right people, they’ll go above and beyond on every project, because that’s just what they do. These people allow you to get more done as well because you can trust that they’ll be doing great work whether you’re around or not.

When you get a functioning team of people like this together, the whole of your company becomes more than the sum of its parts. Great things happen that no one could have anticipated.

Everyone wants a company like this, but finding employees of this caliber is always hard, and we’re in especially difficult times now. The US currently has more unfilled job openings than ever, and time to hire has been hovering around a record high, between 27 and 29 days.

A lot of entrepreneurs are just hoping to get their positions filled with someone adequate. Can you hold out for the perfect, A-level employee?

I believe it’s possible, and I’ve got a few tips to help you do it.

9 Tips for Finding All-Star Start-Up Employees

1. Keep an eye on competitors. What if you could somehow know when your competitors were having trouble, and when it might be an opportune time to reach out to headhunting prospects?

You can. Keep an eye on what’s being said on Glassdoor about companies that employ the types of people you need to hire. If you notice a drop in their ratings, and a rash of complaints, it’s time to test the waters.

2. Build a stable of potential employees. Don’t throw out resumes of people who applied but didn’t make the cut. They’re people who have shown an interest in your company, and down the road, as they develop their skills, they may be star candidates.

Be sure to communicate well when you’ve declined a candidate, and set up a drip email to stay in touch.

3. Advanced LinkedIn research. Here’s a cool recruiting trick. Talk to the very best hires you’ve made, and learn when and where they worked previously.

Go to LinkedIn advanced search, and search for people who worked at the same company at the same time. There’s a good chance this was the company’s peak, and you may find some rock-star employees to contact.

4. Sell your positions. When you write a job ad, don’t make it a bullet-pointed list of qualities a dream candidate would have. The most in-demand employees want to see what you offer them, not a long list of the demands the employer has. Write ads that highlight why they should work at your company, and limit your requirements to just the essentials.

5. Switch posting locations. If you do the above and still aren’t getting results, try changing posting locations. For example, if you’ve been posting to job seekers in a big city, try the suburbs or smaller cities nearby.

You might also try posting in areas where there are more people with the skill you need – if you’re hiring engineers, try posting in a town with a university that’s known for its engineering program.

6. Try Facebook ads. More than 70 percent of potential candidates are passive – they’re not looking for a job, so they won’t see what you post to a job board. They are on Facebook, but postings there can get drowned in all the noise. Boost your post for better visibility, and get the added benefit of Facebook ad targeting, which lets you choose job titles, location, and much more.

7. Go remote. At Betterteam, we’re a completely distributed operation. There’s still some controversy about hiring remote workers, and bigger companies have been pulling back from remote work, but studies show that remote workers are more likely to be retained and be more productive.

Great tools like Slack, Skype and Basecamp make working remotely easier. What if the perfect employee doesn’t live in your city and doesn’t want to move? It may be time to think about remote workers.

8. Try freelancers. Don’t have the money for a full-time employee? Having trouble finding the right person, and nervous about the cost of bringing on the wrong employee? It’s never been easier to hire remote freelancers. Websites like Upwork make it really easy and save you paperwork, too.

9. Try niche job boards. There’s a job board for just about any slice of the job market you can think of. Looking for salespeople for your startup? There’s a job board for that. It’s a great way to make sure you job posting is reaching the right people. Also, people that are tuned into their markets tend to be tuned into the niche board too.

Find Your Dream Team

Even in the midst of a talent shortage, there are ways for startups to find great people. I hope this article helps you find the right person for your company, and even inspires you come up with your own hiring hacks.

Get more hiring help with my article on screening job candidates.

Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.