Startup hiring tips: 4 strategies for fast-growing startups

Hiring, in general, has proven to be quite challenging. Startup hiring, however, is even harder. That’s why we took to our dedicated users to get you the most innovative startup hiring tips!

Ask any startup founder “What is the biggest challenge in growing your business?”, and they’ll say “hiring”. Sure, they are getting customers, developing features, and forecasting growth, but this all needs to be executed by somebody. And that just can’t be anybody. They have to be the right cultural fit, A-players, purple squirrels, unicorns – you get it.

How do you know which one you need? And more importantly, what should you do to get them?

We asked our users – founders at super fast-growing startups – for their advice on giving startup hiring tips. What would they tell themselves when starting out, if they could go back in time?

They all approach hiring strategically to make sure that their business runs like a finely oiled machine. With these four tips, you, too, can excel at recruiting and get the best talent to grow your business.

5 startup hiring tips from Recruitee users

1. Scout all year round

“Start recruiting even if you don’t have open spots!” Bas Kohnke, co-founder and pro at hiring at Impraise, says. “It can take a great deal of time to find the right candidates once you need them, so make sure you start looking for new talent way ahead. Developers especially can be hard to find, so ideally keep a watch list of talent that you can approach later. Building a talent pool is key in startup hiring.

We save them in Recruitee and use that as the back-end of our growth. We try to keep in touch with the ones that do not fit at this time but who may want to join the team at a later stage. Send them an email, invite them to a party. Just keep them in the loop.”

Read about surviving the pandemic as a start-up here.

2. Introduce the company culture early

Mark Studholme, co-founder and master of hiring at CROWDYHOUSE, echoed Kohnke’s experience in his observation:

“It can be overwhelming when your company takes off and there is a continuous need for new team members. As a founder, your role changes from keeping track of daily operations to managing team members and recruiting new people. We couldn’t have scaled up this fast without a system like Recruitee. I would advise startups to hire throughout the year (not just when you need new people) and keep all your candidates in an online tool. Give all team members the power to scout new talent, as it’s the future growth of your company.

In addition, we aim to create a pleasant work environment. Things like free lunches, Friday afternoon drinks, and parties from time to time really help build up a team spirit. Luckily, your efforts will pay off and you’ll have more people find your site and less need for expensive job promotions.”

3. Optimize the hiring process constantly

Use surveys

Getting candidates is only the first step in startup hiring (and hiring, in general). The main battle boils down to how you handle and process them efficiently, as demonstrated by David Darmanin, CEO and founder, when talking about hiring at Hotjar:

“We always start with a survey. We like doing really long surveys: 10-12 detailed questions. The reason for that is: ‘If you don’t really believe in joining us, that’s the perfect kind of filter upfront.’ Then we have all the email [response] automated from Recruitee.”

Use video interviews

“Then we would request videos. We decided to do this because we’re doing tons of interviews. When we calculated the time on that, it was a huge waste. Because we’re constantly reviewing and optimizing how we use our time, we said ‘OK, what if instead of us 13 doing 30 interviews, we do 30 videos, and out of them we choose five?’ So we created the questions and the flow for that. We have again, very intentionally, five standard questions and these cannot be changed by a role. They are standard because the video stage is purely to see ‘Will they match culturally?’”

Implement a paid task stage

“From the videos, we then invite them to do an interview. If the person makes it through that stage, we go to what’s called the task stage. Everything is done purely via [online] chat. Because our work is remote, we want to evaluate how good they behave in that environment. They’re given a task in a Word doc. There is no video, no audio so that we can see how they ask questions, how quickly they understand things, and if they can communicate with us. They’re given two to three days which is a paid period. If we believe in what they’ve done, that’s the stage where we then negotiate.

What’s great is by doing this – as we call it – ‘performance recruitment’, at the stage when the person decides to join, we literally just change their email and HipChat, and they’re ready to start working with us.”

4. Centralize your hiring in one platform

The next person you bring in will continuously define your culture and business. Be strategic about who you need, starting from who you are. Plan way ahead, and constantly refine your practices as you go. Feeling overwhelmed? Use a platform to support your growth ambition. From employer brand, job board posting, and talent sourcing to applicant tracking, we can help you streamline your startup hiring efforts.

startup hiring tips Recruitee features

5. Want to optimize your startup hiring?

If you seek help in structuring and optimizing your hiring process, sign up for our service! Once you are in the free trial, you can let our team know about your needs in the live chat. During the 18 days of your trial, we will help you get your hiring up and running in no time!

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