Hiring right impacts your company and bottom line. Attracting talent when you are new to the game can be tough, but it is an important and unavoidable aspect of building your business. A recent Conference Board survey found that, regardless of companies' size, CEOs' top internal concern is finding the right talent.

Every employee can have a positive impact on a startup, its performance and the bottom line. However, hiring the wrong person can have the opposite effect. So how do you ensure that you find that right fit when you may not be able to offer the market rate for an open position, or are the "small fish" in a sea of more established brands and profitable companies? How do you stand out and remain the obvious choice for talented employees?

To attract and recruit the best employees for your company, keep these hiring essentials in mind.

1. Look beyond compensation

While the goal of most jobs is to make money, compensation is usually not the only reason an applicant considers a company. They will likely spend many hours each weekday with fellow employees. Applicants typically want amiable co-workers and a company culture that meets their needs. Attractive workplaces may offer flexible hours that allow better work-life balance, a casual dress code, gym membership, telecommuting, company events, or anything that makes employees' life inside and outside of work more enjoyable. Enjoying what you do is generally at the top of the wish list for candidates seeking a job. 

2. Make the job interesting 

Prospective employees may seek jobs that offer them new and innovative opportunities. While you may not have started your company in a Harvard dorm room, being a startup is one of the factors that attract talent. Some people really enjoy the startup environment for the opportunity to be involved in the initial process of building something. Giving people a say in what they do and how they work can create a very happy work environment and can make opportunities more appealing. 

3. Promote from within 

While you may not be able to offer a six-figure salary, businesses on a budget still have something valuable to give, such as experience, training, contacts, and a clear and potentially quick path for promotional opportunities. When hiring, keep in mind the long-term career goals of a candidate. Startups that offer growth opportunities may be more attractive than larger companies where such opportunities are limited.

Also, consider hiring for potential rather than for experience. If you're willing to invest in training, you may want to outline a career path for the prospect so they can "grow into" the position. The candidate will benefit from the training and opportunity while the employer gains a loyal, hard-working employee who can be molded, educated, and trained. 

4. Test your job ads

When posting a job ad, make sure the focus of the ad is not on what you want, but on what the applicant will gain from employment with the company. Don't be afraid to refresh and repost your ad, making note of which versions generate the most response. 

5. Be clear

When interviewing, do not oversell the position or paint the role with rose-colored glasses. Yes, you do have to sell candidates on the role and communicate the company's strengths. However, before hiring an applicant, you also need to share the hardships and downside of the position. Do not be afraid to tell it like it is. New hires will soon find out the truth about the position, and you want to avoid a situation where the employee does not feel they are doing the job they were hired to do. 

6. Test your employees

Don't be afraid to create a multiple-step hiring process. This will help eliminate the unqualified prospects and the candidates who apply to every job possible on the internet. Multiple steps allow you to narrow your focus on candidates who have a real interest in the company and the position. 

7. Get a second opinion

Some people are great at the interview stage of hiring. They are well rehearsed and put together, and come across as the perfect package. We have all been fooled by the great interview, just to find, in hindsight, that you hired a lazy employee who pawns his work off on others. To avoid this pitfall, it helps to ask insightful interview questions and ask the candidate for specific examples. You can also use external testing to see a more in-depth, well-rounded viewpoint, or bring in other colleagues to help you interview, so that you have other opinions to take into consideration.  

Being a startup doesn't mean that you are left with second-rate talent. As a startup, you may not be a subject-matter expert in hiring; you may not even have an HR department. But you are the subject matter expert on your company and what you need. Finding the right candidate will help you in the long run with growth, efficiency, production, client retention, and much more. 

Published on: Feb 3, 2020