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Attracting the Right Talent For Your Startup – How To Hire Like a Pro?

Jun 12, 20173 min read

Robert Krajewski

Co-founder and CEO of Ideamotive. Entrepreneur, mentor and startup advisor.


There has been a rapid growth of startups over the last decade as the ecosystems to support these early-stage companies have evolved making it easier to start than ever before. One of the greatest challenges for startups right now is the ability to hire and retain quality talent, especially technical and engineering talent. It’s surprising that even well-funded startups with excellent benefits are facing a huge challenge. Quite like your pitch to customers or investors, you need to develop a clear message for those you’d like on your team.

Larger companies work on employer branding strategies for this very purpose. Even as a smaller company, you too should consider what the culture of your company is going to look like and what message you’re using to attract your ideal team.

Here are some thoughts when attracting the right talent or your startup, if you have any ideas of your own reach out on Twitter @ideamotive_co or email startups@ideamotive.co

Why should people work for your company?

There are many startup opportunities which are available for good talent, especially those with technical skills. It’s, therefore, more important than ever to have a clear employer branding strategy to show why people should work for you and how your company is different.

Startups are not for everyone, and many people can’t flourish in a fast, chaotic environment. Make any new hires feel connected, informed, and part of the growing process. This means being transparent. As a startup, you’re in a unique position to provide transparency and to include your team in every step of the process. Often, employees are shielded from this information and inclusion in a large company.

What kind of opportunities are you going to provide to your team as the company grows? As they will have many opportunities available to them in the market, you need to go above and beyond to show them they will grow with you. With the growing digital nomad movement, which is primarily filled with designers and developers, people are looking more and more at ways to balance their projects and work with global travel. Consider how your startup can take advantage of this movement.

Finally, be sure to showcase your team dynamic and culture. As you begin to scale your team, you will incur the challenges associated with this culture and office politics, and it’s important that all new hires feel part of the team.

The Solutions

What are the solutions to the difficulties of finding the right engineering talent for your startup? Firstly, you can start by hiring contractors. The market is full of contracted engineering talent who can provide a specific skill set at fixed daily rates. This kind of relationship is often more efficient, but you will also have to expect that your contractors aren’t as committed to your project and will prove to be more expensive over time.

To find the right permanent engineering talent, there are steps that you can manage at every stage. Be sure to convey your message clearly right from the get-go. You’re not selling them the opportunity for just another job, but to join a speeding rocket ship. You want people that want to work for you and who believe in you and your idea. Your success will depend on the people around you and if you are to raise capital and grow rapidly, you’ll need to have an exceptional team.

Many companies like Automaticc (behind WordPress) and Buffer are building their teams remotely. This enables them to hire globally to reach the best talent with the right skills. It also creates a very unique company culture which supports with retention and the wellbeing of the team. With ultra-fast connectivity almost worldwide, perhaps a solution to your hiring challenges could be to build your team using this strategy?

Go Creative!

As a creative startup, you need to be creative with your application process. Don’t just rely on education and experience, design questions that are specific to your organization and bring out the deeper values that you are looking for. You want to hire people who will help create the culture you are seeking and be very open-minded.

Use applicant tracking systems (ATS) such as Workable to track candidates. They may not be suitable right now, but you can contact them when you’re ready. What about reaching out to your customer base? These people already believe in your product and your company vision; they could quickly turn into loyal members of your team.

Utilize noticeable links in your customer newsletter, such as “We’re hiring”. It’s important that you market what you’re looking for in as many places as possible to reach as many eyes and ears as possible.

Marketing on social is always a great place to find talent, launch a campaign or spread the word of what you’re looking for. Tell the world that you’re expanding your team. Social is a great place to find influencers who may know someone great for the positions you have available, therefore consider using messaging such as ‘Do you know someone who could be a good fit?’.

It takes time and patience to find someone that has the right talent, fits into your company culture and believes in your vision. But, if you figure out what you want from the start, and convey this message throughout the process, there is no reason you can’t grow your team quickly in the right way.

We are Ideamoitive and we love to work with startups! If you’d like to learn how we can help build your team – get in touch startups@ideamotive.co or click here.

Robert Krajewski

Robert is a co-founder of Ideamotive. Entrepreneur, who with passion spreads digital revolution all around the internet. Mentor and advisor at startup accelerators. Loves to learn and discover new business models.

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