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Talent Acquisition Essentials for Startups 

When you’re building a startup team, especially in the early years, every hire is critical. And, so are the strategies and resources you put in place for recruiting. We’ve put together a list of the most important “must have’s” when deciding your talent acquisition strategy and the approaches to get the job done!

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1. Linking your talent acquisition strategy to the big picture  

Establishing the links between your startup’s vision, values and business growth strategy, with your talent strategy, is one of the most important steps for a startup. Yet, it is often cut short —or bypassed altogether — as the company rushes to bring on colleagues for key roles and get the product ready for go-to-market. This vital step feeds everything from a recruiting and hiring perspective, such as defining what will make someone successful at your firm based upon your culture and vision, and who you need in place to support hiring processes.  

2. Hiring projections 

Based on the trajectory of the business, expected growth, and general estimates of turnover at your type of firm, you can make hiring projections for the next 12 months as well as estimates for upcoming years. While your plans may need to shift, considering these projections will help you make critical decisions about resources for talent acquisition. 

3. Documented processes and gap analysis

Mapping out your hiring process — from job opening and description to sourcing and screening through interviewing, hiring decisions, and onboarding —will save you a lot of headaches along the way. This will help you make sure you hire the right candidates quickly and use your internal staff well. During this process, you can decide where founders play a role, which we talk about in our recent whitepaper as one of the steps for hiring strategically and scaling talent acquisition. 

Using the documented processes, you can determine who internally will participate in the recruiting and hiring activities and where there are gaps. 

4. Informed resource decisions and scalable solutions

Documenting the processes and doing a gap analysis will provide part of what you need to make resourcing decisions to fill any obvious gaps. In addition, in their early stages, most ventures experience fluctuations in hiring demand throughout the year which also impacts which solutions will serve you best in terms of costs and ROI.  

Based upon this information and your hiring projections, what sort of support do you need right now?  And, in the upcoming year or two?  What options do you have to satisfy those needs internally (e.g. hiring recruiting staff, hiring a talent strategy expert) or externally?  When you consider these options such as hiring more staff or using external resources, doing a cost and benefit analysis will be useful. 

We explored this topic in The New Startup Scalability Superpower: Recruiting Innovation”, available for download here. The good news is that full-time recruiting staff or costly external solutions aren’t the only options available anymore. 

A startup team can design a hiring strategy leveraging resources to handle fluctuating demand, innovation in technology and service models, and TA expertise to fuel growth. Comeet’s Elastic Recruiting provides these solutions in an innovative model, designed for the growing startup.  

5. Tools for talent acquisition

You’ll need a number of tools to support for recruiting and hiring the right people. Some of the most important ones are noted below:  

  • Application and apply online capabilities
  • Interview plans 
  • Interview questions and approach tailored to roles
  • Panel and/or individual interviewers, trained and equipped

6. System for applicant tracking and automating key activities

The technology available today to support these areas can be overwhelming, and the solutions complex.  The ability to truly benefit from innovation in talent acquisition technology is more limited for the early stage venture whose hiring demand fluctuates, not warranting a costly system. Comeet’s Elastic Recruiting, however, brings our end-to-technology and strategic talent acquisitions services together in one solution built for startups. 

7. The details — what do you need to deliver on your promise?

In the rush to build a startup team and support early growth, some hire for position titles or boxes on an org chart rather than taking enough time to explore and plan. It’s a good idea to dig deeper to craft more detailed job descriptions than you publish. For example, what detailed work activities do you need to accomplish in order to deliver on your promise to customers and investors now and in the near future?  What challenges, opportunities, or issues are likely to come up that might require other tasks, such as educating customers and responding to detailed questions, additional troubleshooting, or technical documentation?  

Consider that in the early stages, key tasks may take longer, as products or services are growing in use, and while processes and roles are being defined. As growth continues, roles and needs may shift into maintenance or new tasks like working with new customer acquisition strategies, partners, added services, or new markets. 

With these factors in mind, determine how to best plan out your talent acquisition strategy in order to serve your customers well and grow. If you’re already established with a foundational startup team in place, it might be a good time for a check-in again on this step and the others in this article!    

Download our new whitepaper, The New Startup Scalability Superpower: Recruiting Innovation, for more tips. It includes 7 major trends, 7 myths and 7 steps to scaling talent acquisition which can make a big difference in your growth! Get your copy here. 

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