10 tips to help you hire the best talent for your tech start-up

By Adel Eisa


Technology start-ups can have a tough job attracting the talent they need to make their business a success. With people being the most important asset for a start-up company, you need to be able to hire the best talent to enhance and grow your team, but what can you do when big brand names and wealthy organisations seem more glamorous to potential recruits?.

Growing the company requires a team with skills, passion and belief. But with a start-up, managers can find themselves wearing several hats, which makes finding the right candidate, with the skills you need time-consuming when you’re also trying to run a company. 

By thinking through your recruitment strategy and getting support when you need it, you can reduce the time and work that it takes to finding and recruiting the right candidate for your technology start-up. 

Here are the Top 10 tips of advice from IC Resources to help you on your journey: 

1. Employee’s rights and your responsibilities 

Deciding to employ people is a big step to take. It’ll change the whole dynamic of your start-up, but it will also open up lots of opportunities. Once you have employees, you’ll find there are all kinds of rights and responsibilities that you need to meet. From contracts of employment to holiday rights and sickness pay, there will be all manner of admin that you’ve never had to consider before.  Taking time to familiarise yourself with the basics of employment law will make life easier in the long run and will ensure you don’t fall foul of any responsibilities that, as an employer, you’re obliged to meet. You can find a good guide to the key considerations in Startups magazine

2. Find your ideal candidate

Finding the right candidate is never easy, but if you at least know what you’re looking for in a candidate it makes the process much easier. Before you get started, take time to sketch out what your dream candidate will look like. Then if you get a candidate that comes close, or even better matches your criteria, you know it’s time to move fast! 

3. Plan the process

Consider your recruitment process. Are there other stakeholders who need to meet the candidate? How will you structure the process? Will you manage it yourself or employ a recruitment agency to manage the process on your behalf? Perhaps you could employ a recruitment agency to do an initial CV screen or first interview. Also consider whether the role requires any technical or competency testing. 

4. The package  

One huge benefit of working for a technology start-up is the flexibility that they can usually offer. Often larger companies are hamstrung with pay grades and management levels. If you can be flexible with the package you can offer recruits, it’s easy to increase your appeal (and motivate your staff at the same time). Stock options or flexible working can hold big appeal to a potential employee. 

However, take time to consider how and when these are awarded to ensure you don’t find yourself over-committed or committed to candidates that don’t, for whatever reason, work out. 

5. Finding your candidates 

Where you find your candidates will partly be determined by the skills and experience you are looking for. You could advertise on a job board or employ a recruitment agency to do the legwork, single out potential recruits using LinkedIn or advertise in trade publications. At IC Resources, we can help you design a recruitment strategy, from identifying the best places to locate potential candidates that meet your criteria right through to making and managing an offer. 

From time-to-time candidates proactively target companies they would like to work for, so setting up a company LinkedIn page and a ‘work for us’ page on your website can also help to attract possible candidates.  

6. Creating a culture that works for you 

The people who work for you will contribute to the overall culture of your company. Think about the type of business you want to run and the type of life you want the employees working for you to have, and then appoint staff who you think fit that mould. 

7. The Interview process

You’ll learn a huge amount the first time you recruit someone, and by taking note of the things you did well, didn’t do so well, and those things that you would change next time you recruit, you can continue to improve and refine your recruitment process. Maybe you would benefit from introducing a phone (video) interview into the screening process, or perhaps you would be better meeting them face to face? The quality and quantity of candidates you attract may impact these kinds of decisions. You’ll also find that the higher the quality of the pool of candidates, the more stages you’re likely to need to find the best candidate for your business.  

Whenever you interact with any candidates or potential candidates, remember that you need to sell the company as much as the candidate needs to sell their skills and experience to you. 

8. Onboarding your candidates 

With the right candidate carefully selected, you need to start the onboarding process. It will take your new employees time to get to know the business, so make sure someone makes time to show them the ropes and helps get them set up with IT equipment, passwords, passes and anything else they need to do their job effectively. Think about how you can help them to enjoy their job right from day one by making them feel supported and valued. 

9. Grow and retain 

Hiring for your start-up can be a time consuming and expensive process. You may even find that you don’t get the perfect recruit the first time around. Even if you do, they’re still likely to need training to nurture their skills and abilities. Don’t see this as an expense, but as an investment. Staff who are invested in tend to be happier, and happier staff are more productive and tend to stay in a company longer. As replacing staff tends to cost, on average, between 10 and 20% of the position’s annual salary, it makes sense to minimise your staff turnover from the outset. Other factors that can contribute to an employee’s decision to move or stay will include salary, workload, flexibility, perks and even job satisfaction. Start-ups can often be demanding as structures and processes are created and practices established, so recognising the need for a work-life balance and accommodating it where possible is important.

10. Sell the role

The best candidates won’t fall at your feet. Selling the company to the candidate is as important as it is for the candidate to sell themselves to the company. Every contact you have with the candidate is a great opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition, and to sell your opportunity. 

Start-ups can find it tough to hire the best talent, but it’s an essential part of being successful as the right candidate in a small company can make a bigger impact on the company’s results and culture, than they could in a big company. The reverse is true too, with the wrong candidate having the potential to create more damage in a smaller company than they could in a larger one. The benefits of working with an experienced agency capable of understanding your needs, managing the process, and delivering the right candidate should not be underestimated. IC Resources are a recruitment agency offering bespoke hiring solutions to technology start-ups. We’ve been helping tech start-ups to hire top talent for years and, with specialist consultants – many of whom have industry experience, they are well placed to help you make the most of your recruitment budget, whatever your needs.  

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