All About Startup Hiring

Startup Hiring
Startup Hiring

Hiring is a step-by-step recruitment process, but when it comes to Startup hiring the road is an uphill drive. Little time, money, and little room to go wrong, startup hiring is a tedious task. You need to execute it with perfection.

Top 5 Startup Hiring Challenges

Startup Challenges
Startup Challenges
  1. Time

Challenge: Startup needs to do so much in so less time and so is the hiring process in a startup.

Solution: Stay active and build a network with people who like your social media posts. Reach out to them and understand their level of interest. When you would need to hire, they will be able to assist quickly, because you kept them engaged with yourself. Recommendations work faster than anything else, saving a lot of time and effort.

  1. Money

Challenge: Startups being a startup have to manage with limited funds. Hiring an employee is a big-ticket item for a startup.

Solution: Ensure matching the candidate goals with the company goals to precision. If you align the goals correctly, you end up hiring an asset for the company. If not, the employee and the company both walk in different directions.

  1. Brand Awareness

Challenge: Nobody knows who you are.

Solution: Create a strong social media awareness. Create a strong network and constantly share the core values of the organization. When you hire, make the prospect browse the company’s social media. This will help in creating your brand awareness. Keep your social media up-to-date always. Ensure every team member in the organization is sharing the company’s post in its network to increase the visibility of your brand.

  1. Right Fit

Challenge: Talented folks ask for too much salary.

Solution: All skills fit-in-one do not exist. Be reasonable with your expectations and you will be able to find the right fit faster. A reasonable requirement will also make the prospect comfortable in picking the job.

  1. Wrong Hire

Challenge: While you try to take every precaution in not hiring a wrong person, but it is inevitable.

Solution: The sooner you realize this the sooner you should let the employee go. A wrong hire is constant damage to your time and money.

Hiring for a startup is always complex especially when a startup is young. But if you follow a strategy and focus on what you want, you will be able to simplify this complex process of hiring.

10 Strategies to hire for Startup

Startup Hiring Strategies

  1. Make it inclusive

The fun in a startup is that everyone does everything, so why not hiring. Include everyone in the organization during the hiring process. You have no idea who is sitting in whose network that might be the right fit for your startup.

And when everyone is inclusive, each member of the team will try its best to hire the best.

  1. Collaborate using Collaborative tools

Since everyone is trying to hire, it’s time to dedicate a certain task to certain people. Tools like Trello and Slack are really handy in assigning task and responsibilities. This helps in tracking progress and move faster.

  1. Task Allocation

You involved everyone in the hiring process, great. It is also important to identify the capabilities of your team. Assign a role based on their capabilities. A technical person must screen technical abilities and not communication skills.

  1. Recommendations and Social Media Hiring

If you are looking to hire from job boards, most likely you are on a wrong path. Reach out to everyone, even those whom you think could be least able to help you in recommending somebody. After all, there is no down-side of it.

Push notifications on your social media about what you are looking for. Connect with those who show interest. Do not hesitate to reach out to those who have been in the same field and asking for recommendations.

  1. Sell your benefits

Joining a startup could be a risk for somebody. After all, 90% startup fails within the first year. Clearly articulate why somebody should join your startup. Define the benefits for the candidate and it will help you attract the right people. You should also express your vision and mission to potential candidates.

  1. Strong online presence

Strong online presence number of followers is a parameter to your brand value. Larger the number of followers better the brand value. Stay constant with your online engagements. Write blogs and posts to attract talent.

  1. Process vs. Experience

A startup is all about the experience. When you interview somebody, make it an experience instead of making it a process. If you feel you have found the right fit, make them meet the entire team. This will bring a feeling of inclusion and leads to a better experience.

  1. Answer more and ask more

Interviewing is asking questions. The question leads to answers. And answers help you understand the other person better. You ask questions because you interested in the person you are talking to.

Similarly, the candidate would ask questions about the organization. Allow them to ask questions and patiently answer them. Be elaborate in your answers. This will bring more confidence in the candidate in you and the role.

  1. Skill vs. Attitude

Skills to important to perform the task, but remember that skills can always be developed. But it is next to impossible to build the attitude of a person. When you hire, focus on the attitude of the person. If the person has the right attitude but lacks somewhere in skills, he is always a better bet than otherwise.

  1. Be diversity-focused

Diversify yourself. Break the boundaries of the 4 walls of your office. Stop hiring the person who can come to the office. Instead, hire somebody who could get the job done. And they can be physically anywhere in the world.

Focus on the right brain rather than focus on race, gender, culture. A diversity of thoughts, energy, and psychology helps in an organization’s growth. Some people are innovators, some are good in making strategies, some are good for setting up procedures and some are good at implementing those procedures. We all are a combination of Builder, Explorer, Negotiator, and Director.

Take help of psychometric assessment to find the best fit. Use technology to solve the problem of face to face interactions. I know a few people who left their 9-5 job because of their personal reasons. They have capabilities and if given chance could become a rock star for you.

Recruiters in startups need to find new methods of attracting a talent pool for their organization. They need to constantly learn new strategies. Reading is a good source of getting new ideas. Read recommended recruiting books to adapt to changing recruiting needs.

Top 5 questions to answer before you hire for Startup

Questions for startup hiring
Questions for startup hiring
  1. Do you really need to hire?

There is always a gap between wish and reality. You may wish to hire somebody, but startups should not hire unless it is important. Sometimes startup starts hiring earlier than required and eventually fail to sustain them.

  1. Permanent hire vs. Freelancer?

A full-time hire comes with a lot of cost and other overheads. Also, unless you have enough work for a new hire, the resource will lose its interest in the work. This underutilized resource is also a waste of your money. Using a freelancer could is always a better bet. I use this formula to make my decision:

Salary for Full Time Hire + 20% >= Freelance cost

As long as this statement stays true, I prefer working with freelancers.

  1. What is most critical?

Make a list of all the roles you need to hire for. Find out the most critical role from the list and focus on that hiring. Do not hire unless the hiring is critical and impacts the growth within the coming 6 months. Define key responsibility areas for each role and evaluate. This sometimes helps in merging two roles into one and reduce the required headcount.

  1. Experienced vs. Fresher?

Everyone loves to work with an experienced person, but you must think twice before making a decision. An experienced person is great to have but comes with its own baggage.

It takes time for an experienced resource to adjust to a new environment. But, it might be easier for them to learn about your environment and become productive faster. Hiring experienced professionals from other start-ups can benefit as they are aware of challenges in start-ups. Hiring form start-ups with similar values and vision will be a win-win situation.

On the other side fresher will come at less cost and are generally highly trainable. If given proper training they can do wonders, but it takes time. The brighter side is that it is easier to inculcate your company values in freshers.

  1. Hiring Specialists vs. a mix of all?

Check your goal and decide if you need a specialist of a generalist. Hiring specialist will lead to top-notch solutions to your customers. But you may fall apart in other parts of your business.

If your solution does not need specialist care hiring a generalist might give you an advantage.  You will be able to do many things together with a limited number of resources.

Check our exclusive In Conversation with Santosh Alex, Sr. Engineering Recruiter with Twitter and understand why recruiting career is an excellent career choice.

Top 3 benefits Startups can offer to attract talent

Startup Benefits
Startup Benefits
  1. Work from home

A lot of talent gets wasted when they are not able to commute to the office and continue their 9-5 routine. Women’s are more likely to sacrifice their job in the quest of giving enough time to their child and family.

A work from home option can help you use the talent at a reasonable cost and with longevity. The ability to work at a time and location of their choice can attract a lot of great talent towards you.

  1. Upfront Equity

C-level employees need more than a salary to stay attached to an organization. Upfront equity with a vesting period is a great option for such employees.

The equity might not hold the value in the present. But because they believe in the vision of the company, they understand the value of equities. The equity keeps its moral high and helps them focus on the growth of the organization.

  1. Stock Options

This option is similar but not the same. You offer these options to important people in your organization. The stocks are not given right away. The employee gets the option to buy certain stocks after a certain period of time at current prices.

The time after which the employee can buy the company share is the vesting period. The employee keeps the virtual shares till the time the vesting period is over.

Top 10 places to look for Ideal candidates for Startups

  1. LinkedIn

Networking sites like LinkedIn are places where people meet others to fulfill professional goals. Investors look for potential companies to invest. Salespeople hunt for potential customers. A significant number of people hunt for better opportunities. And others are always in hunt of their dream role. Connect with them.

  1. Meetup

A Meetup is a place where like-minded people from similar niche meet, discuss, and contribute. Use X-Ray search and filter people based on location and skills. Join other’s meetup to network with people. Create and sponsor a meetup and invite others to take part.

  1. Networking Events

Like meetups, there are many networking events organized by companies. Some are for promotions and some are for knowledge sharing. Networking events are great to market your startup and find potential hires.

  1. Social Media

Facebook groups are a great way to connect with industry-specific people. Twitter and Instagram help you directly reach out to somebody if you know their handles. Connecting with target prospect has become extremely easy using Social Media.

  1. Open Source Social Media

Github, Stack Overflow, Quora, and Source Forge etc. are great places to find technical folks. Check their work, connect with them and hiring becomes easy and focused.

  1. College Placement Cell

Recently fresh graduates have done wonders. They seem to be more passionate about what they do. Come with a lot of energy and a mind that craves to learn. They adapt quickly to a new environment and are hard working.

  1. Reach out to local specialized institutes

Like colleges, reach out to local institutes. You will find skilled fresh graduates hungry to take up an assignment. These folks will need minimum guidance and could be a great bet.

  1. Industry-specific forums and blogs

Join the forums and follow the blogs that relate to your niche. Question, answers, promotions and many other things keep the forum alive. Follow the people who show the required knowledge in comments. They could be your potential employees.

  1. Freelance Marketplaces

Freelancer, Fiverr, Upwork etc. are places where you can find specialists. Some people do it because they are passionate about what they do and want more challenges and some do it for money. Either way, you can connect with right folks.

  1. AngelList

Angellist is a free network that connects employers with talent. This talent is there to find a potential startup to work with. Create jobs so that people can apply. The downside is that anyone, qualified or not, can apply to your job.

Last but not least is the Job Sites. This being the last in the list, you still cannot mitigate the importance of it. Given the size of the database they have, you have chances to find the right fit. But, in the process of finding the right fit, you end up getting too many unwanted profiles. This eats a lot of your time and effort.

Recruiting for startups has always been challenging. The key to success is the eagle eyes to find somebody passionate about the idea that you live. Networking and Marketing plays an important role that brings you closer to your audience.

PS: I like to thank Jyoti Hooda for her contributions in making this article complete. She made some valuable points in completing this article.

If you liked the article, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more recruiting lessons. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Job Description and its Analysis

Job Description
Job Description

A person who can run fast might not be the best person to swim fast and so is a great swimmer need not necessarily be a fine singer. As a recruiter, it is important for you to find the right match for the job you are hiring for. And that’s when a job description, the very first stage of a recruitment process, becomes important for you. If you choose a career in recruiting, vetting a job description might be one of the most crucial tasks you will need to perform.

Importance of Job Description

A job description might be a 3-page document. But your eagle eyes should be able to pick the most important responsibilities from it. This document will include the scope of work, qualification, experience, duties, and compensation.  All this information helps you create an outline of the person you would hunt for.

As much as the job description is important for a recruiter, it is important for the candidate as well. It helps the candidate understand the skills and knowledge required to perform the tasks. A piece of complete information encourages the candidate to pursue further with the job.

Sample Job Description

Following is a sample of a typical job description. It may vary from company to company but the overall content should be similar.

Job Title Senior Technical Recruiter
Experience 3yrs to 5yrs
Education Graduate with Business Degree
Work Location Pune, India
Shift Eastern Time
Roles and Responsibilities
  • Responsible for sourcing candidates through job portals and other mediums including professional networking sites.
  • A clear understanding of US Work Visa’s.
  • Clear communication with superior control of the English language.
  • Ability to work in a team and make the team work along.
  • Organized and can optimize team performance.
  • Excellent negotiation skills.
Compensation 5Lacs to 7Lacs
Perks Incentive on every placement, Pickup and drop facility, free meals, Medical Insurance
About the Co. Details of the company releasing the job description.

A job description could be as simple as what has outlined above. However, many times the company releases a standard version of the job description. A standard version is going to have a lot of information that might be of no use to you. And hence your analysis on the job description becomes important. You need to ensure that you pick the important information for you and for the candidate from what you have.

How to analyze a job description – Recruiters

List down the benefits for the candidates if they decide to pick the job. You need to understand that you are selling a job to your talent pool. And when you are selling, you better be aware of all the benefits of the opportunity.

And it’s not just knowing the benefits. You must also do a competition analysis. Find out what other similar size companies are offering on the role you are currently hiring. This awareness goes a long way. You would know where to look for your prospects.

You might also like to know the top selling skills and like to create a passive pool for the future. Learn more about the Top 10 highest paying jobs of the future and prepare your pool of candidates now.

Good to have VS. Must have skills

As a rule, you must divide your requirements into good to have and must to have criteria. A job description is going to talk about the most ideal candidate you should hunt for. But the ideal world hardly exists. Find out the exceptions to what is mentioned in the job description.

In the sample job description, the education required is a graduate with a business degree. However, this might just be a desirable qualification. A simple graduate with excellent communication skills might also fit into the role. A recruiter needs to have good communication and selling skills. A graduate degree might just good to have a requirement.  When you have divided the skills in good to have and must to have, it will be easier for you to find the right fit.

Better your Recruiting Skills with recommended recruiting books.

How to analyze a job description – Candidates

Searching for a job is a time consuming and grueling task. From thousands of jobs on job boards, it’s possible ending up wasting a lot of time with wrong opportunities.

The goal here is to only find the opportunities those are worth your time and effort. A few tips, if you keep in mind, will help you achieve this.

Job Titles: Never apply to jobs by just looking at their job titles. Job titles could be deceiving. A manager without management responsibilities is as good as an individual contributor. Always look for roles and responsibilities first.

Good to have vs. must have skills: Find out the most important skills required to get the job done. Do you have them? If yes, then spend more time in analyzing the requirement. If you are 80% match to it, the opportunity is worth your time. Otherwise, move on to the next opportunity.

Unrealistic requirement: A job description that has a long list of must to have a requirement is a red flag. This is a clear indication that the hiring manager is not clear about what they want. You might just end up wasting your time with no results at all with such opportunities.

Beyond Job Description

Some research on sites like Glassdoor will be helpful in your decision making. Take your research to the next step by connecting with a few employees in the organization. Professional networking sites like LinkedIn are great to seek guidance.

Coming back to the recruiter, a deep analysis of job description prepares you well. When a candidate asks about the suitability of the job, you are better prepared to answer back.

As a recruiter, you will need to re-write the job description to make it candidate friendly. Carole Martin has written a beautiful book on the perfect phrases for writing job descriptions. I recommend reading it to better yourself in exciting your candidates with the job descriptions you send to them.

If you liked the article, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more recruiting lessons. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

What are the stages of the Recruitment Process?

Recruitment Process
Recruitment Process

You are here because you have selected a career in recruiting. Great! But if you are still contemplating on what your passion is I recommend reading what is your passion.

As you know the process of finding the best fit, for the available job, from the available pool of candidates is recruiting. In the entire recruitment process, you act as a match-maker. At each step in the recruitment process, you ensure to have found the right match for the available job. And you have to do all this in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Check our In Conversation with Santosh Alex, Sr. Engineering Recruiter with Twitter and learn how Santosh progressed in his recruiting career in his exclusive interview with MappedSkills.

Different Stages of Recruitment Process

A recruitment process is a step-by-step progressive process. The broader steps involved in the recruiting process are job description analysis, creating a talent pool, screening and selection, expectation setting up, salary negotiation, offer, and onboarding.

Step-By-Step Recruitment Process
Step-By-Step Recruitment Process

Let us discuss each step in little more detail.

Job Requirement Analysis

As a recruiter, it is important that you understand the job in detail before creating a talent pool. For example, if you need an electrical engineer and you only read engineer, creating a pool of mechanical engineer will be a pure waste of your time.

What’s important is that you make a note of the following from the job description:

  1. Educational Qualification.
  2. Least experience required.
  3. Roles and responsibilities of the job profile.
  4. Salary range offered to the candidate.

This helps you prepare better before you get into the recruiting process. It’s like ensuring that you have the right ammunition before you jump into a war. In my post Job Description and its Analysis, you will get more insight on how to quickly do a job description analysis.

Creating a pool of candidates

Now that you know what you are hunting for, it’s easy to attract the talent pool of candidates. Imagine fishing with a fishing rod and the right kind of food to attract the fishes. And now imagine fishing with a fishing rod and expecting to attract alligators.

Method to create the pool of candidates will depend on the type of job you are hunting for. If you are looking for fresher and in bulk, campus hiring may give you fast results. However, if you are looking for a seasoned technologist, LinkedIn might be more suitable.

Screening candidates

Once you have a set of available candidates, put them into the selection process. Your selection process depends on the internal process and project requirements. This might include a communication test, aptitude test, technical test, and a few others.

You, as a recruiter, need to ensure that the candidate is kept informed throughout the process. And also that the candidate moves smoothly throughout the process.

Setting up Expectations

After shortlisting the candidates, it’s time to build the right set up expectations with them. This helps in filtering the candidates whose expectations are different than what you have to offer. It also makes the candidate aware with the rest of the interview process and time it takes at each step.

A good recruiter will ensure talking to the candidate pre and post each step of the interview and helping the journey as smooth as possible. The entire experience of the interview process gives you an advantage in your next step i.e. Salary Negotiation.

Salary Negotiation

This is the trickiest part of the entire recruiting process. Not everyone is a great negotiator. A recruiter should have the required negotiation skill. Between your negotiation lies your commissions and you need to make most of it.

We all are born negotiator. Remember you negotiating with your other on playing over studying. However, when it comes to negotiating salary, few find it too hard.

The good news is that you can learn how to negotiate well.

You should be quick on negotiating the salary and release the offer letter. Access of negotiation in salary may drift the candidate away from the opportunity.


Offer the best you can and stick to it.  Help the candidate realize the benefits which are beyond the compensation offered.

As soon as you close the negotiation, be quick to send an offer letter and an acceptation on it. Delays at this stage may expose your candidate to other opportunities. Find possibilities to reduce the time to join after offer acceptance.


Expect in a few cases, there is always some gap between the acceptance of the offer letter and the joining date. The candidates are volatile at this stage. And as a recruiter, you must handle the onboarding process carefully.

The candidate has already made up his/her mind to leave the current organization. But he has not yet joined your organization. This gives him enough space to explore more opportunities. And that’s a risk you live with.

There is no full-proof formula to zero it down. But if you plan well, you will be able to control your loss at this stage to a greater extent. Read more on On-boarding strategies.

Once the candidate has been on-boarded and handed over to the project team, your role as a recruiter ends. It’s time for you to get on to your new hunt.

Recruiting hasn’t got the must deserved appreciation that it is deemed for. But without a great recruiting engine in place companies cannot grow and set up for success. Great companies are made with great employees. And it’s the recruiting team who does the hard work to bring the right talent in the organization at the right time.

If you like to grow in your recruiting career, the learning should never stop. Check out the recommended books on recruiting that can change the way you have been recruiting so far.


While we have touched the broader steps involved in the Recruitment Process, each step can further be divided into sub-steps and strategized. Recruitment Process keeps evolving with time, location, and clients, however, the core always remains the same.

I am open to hear your views and keep the process updated as and when required. Leave your comments and suggestions in the comment box below.

If you liked the article, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more recruiting lessons. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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