How to Build Out a Recruitment Process For Your Startup


People are the lifeblood of a successful business, which means that one good hire can massively improve the trajectory of your startup and one bad hire can tear it apart. That’s why recruiting well should be a priority for any founder or CEO.

As much as outsourcing recruitment to agencies has its benefits, it can be an expensive option to pay fees for every person you hire and, as a result, startups are increasingly looking to make recruitment an internal process that they can control and scale.

The reality is though is that attracting the best, in-demand candidates is more than telling them about your ‘super-cool, ground-breaking’ startup; there needs to be some real investment into a successful, attractive process. Here’s some tips.


1.       Define a strategy

It’s amazing how many people overlook strategy as part of the recruitment process. How many people? In what areas? When do we need to hire the? Why do we need more staff? Who is the perfect candidate? What does D&I look like for us?

Only once you’ve looked at recruitment as a big picture item, rather than just “we need salespeople to sell, finance people to count numbers and developers to build” will you be able to build a process that is successful and scales properly.

2.       Communicating your brand and value proposition

Attracting the best candidates for your startup is equally, if not more, about selling your brand as it is the candidates selling theirs. That’s what recruitment agencies typically do well – sell your brand with clarity and passion.

Therefore, if you’re going to take recruitment in-house, there needs to be a mechanism to clearly communicate your value proposition and brand through multiple channels that convinces the best candidates from their “safe” jobs in Big Tech to take a risk and join your startup.


3.       Tech stack

Every industry has tools that help the leaders get a competitive advantage and recruitment is no different. Recruitment-specific CRMs, job boards, sourcing tools, communication tools.

They all cost money and have learning curves but without them, your recruitment process is only as effective as the people you know. After a few hires, for most startups, your network starts to run thin and that was probably the reason you considered an agency in the first place!


4.       Nurture a talent pool

What most successful recruiters have done over their careers is build connections to a plethora of skilled candidates in whatever their niche is that, to be successful, your startup will have to replicate.

Easier said than done, but if you’ve done steps 1-3 you should have the foundations to identify the right people and build them into your network for when the time is right.


5.       Build a candidate-centric recruitment process

This is where it often falls down. A lot of hiring managers are understandably biased in thinking that their company and their team is a place where everybody else should want to work. In that bias, they are so rigorous in finding the perfect candidate who “deserves” to join them, they forget to build a process that makes said candidate want to join them.

This often translates to: too many stages, too many tests, poor communication and poor clarity in the next steps. Your hiring process is a candidate’s first insight into the culture so it’s something you need to take care of to make right.


6.       Compensation

Again, the value of working with agencies is that they have sight of the whole market i.e. what is the market rate in terms of salary & benefits for the role your recruiting for.

Unless you have the data available there’s a chance that you’ll be plucking at thin air and either pricing yourself out by offering too little or getting the wrong applicants by offering too much.

It’s important to make compensation attractive but also linked to the actual role your recruiting for.


Are You Ready?

These 6 tips should be the foundation of any scalable internal recruitment process. However, there’s a reason recruitment started getting outsourced in the first place. To do all of the above correctly, it’s time consuming and expensive; for many startup founders who are in firefighting mode, there’s ultimately other priorities.

But there is a way to combine the cost-saving and cultural benefits of internal recruitment with the effectiveness of outsourced recruitment: Recruitment-as-a-Service (RaaS).

RaaS is akin to a managed service, where typically, the recruitment agency charges a fixed monthly fee for a fixed term to hire up to a fixed number of hires.

RaaS recruiters act as an extension of your team with the necessary tools, network, skills and now cultural fit, to hire the right people for the long-term.

To hear more about our approach to RaaS, feel free to contact us here.

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