As a startup, recruitment drives can be daunting. Not only are they expensive but they’re time consuming too. If you make a poor judgement, there could be some serious financial repercussions. The team you hire will play a major role in the success or failure of your company. Innovate UK have some essential advice for startup recruitment. If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be on the right track.

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Consider Affordability

Taking on a full-time hire is not always your best option. In fact, it’s a huge commitment. If you do this, be sure you can afford it.

More and more SMEs are turning towards freelancers. You could find that outsourcing certain tasks delivers a better return than a full-time hire. There are numerous benefits of using freelancers:

  • You can use someone with both experience and expertise
  • You can utilise skill without adding it to the payroll
  • You can alter their input to meet demand

“Growth is not just about profit; bigger budgets allow us to use skilled freelancers, increasing the quality of our output” – Graeme McGowan, Creative Partner at Jamhot.

Hire Skills You Need

“Make key hires that can fill skill gaps and complement existing staff to help you reach the next level” – Zac Williams, Founder and Director at GradTouch.

When your company grows quickly, you’ll want to take people on quickly. Resist this wherever possible. Every new hire you make should believe in your company’s values and see the opportunity your brand offers. Moreover, they should be able to offer the skills you need to take your brand to the next level.

Don’t just expand in a straight line, consider where the skill gaps are. Most small businesses are made in the image of their owner. This isn’t an issue but needs to change if you want to take the next step. There will be areas where you’re lacking. Evaluate your business and try to spot these. For example, you could be a tech brand with great software though without business development skills, you won’t progress.

How clued up are you on the law? There are strict regulations around recruitment and the processes involved. There’s plenty of helpful information out there to help you. The gov.uk website is a great place to start.

Explore All Applicable Channels

“Utilising specialist websites for your industry can give quicker access to appropriate skills” – Gary Cassey, MD of Cass Productions.

Now you’ve settled on the skills you need to hire, where are you going to find them? There are plenty of recruitment channels out there to be explored. Each channel has its pros and cons.

A great place to start are recruitment agencies. These are probably the most obvious choice, though they often come with hefty fees. This can make them a difficult choice for startups. The other obvious options are major job boards. Again, these are more tailored to larger corporations. They may not be a cost effective option.

One of the most attractive options is niche job boards. These are usually far smaller but often free or low-cost. These are likely to get highly relevant applicants to view your vacancy.

Have you explored the opportunity your network poses? LinkedIn is the perfect tool for this. Don’t neglect other social media accounts too. Post an update requesting candidate referrals, your ideal applicant could only be a connection away. Customers and internal promotions are other potential considerations

Scrutinise Applicants

What do you want to see from the ideal applicant? We’re not referring to skills but personal traits. What would it take for a candidate to impress you? If you’re struggling, consider what other entrepreneurs deem to be important. For instance, Sir Richard Branson looks for three vital characteristics from every applicant:

  • People skills – the ability to relate well to others
  • Risk taking and grit – no fear of failure but also the determination to succeed
  • Optimism – someone who sees the best in a situation/people

“99% of being successful is about having the right attitude. Those people can learn new skills” – James Vizor, CEO of RULE Recruitment.

Pay Importance to Employer Branding

Before you bring anyone in for an interview, you should consider how your company is being portrayed. Employer brand is the representation of your business during the recruitment process. This is crucial in attaining the best talent. You want people who associate with and are excited by your culture. If an applicant can identify with your brand, they’re more likely to be happy working with you. Look at how you want your business to be seen and try to communicate that during the recruitment process.

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