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How to recruit for your early-stage startup

If your company is headquartered in one of the major metropolitan cities in the U.S., you are competing with Ivy League magnets like Facebook and Google. How are you going to attract the right talents for your venture? I recently read several articles discussing just that. Combining my own experience, below are four ideas you can use:

1.) Leverage technologies

Depending on the size of your company, talent needs and length of engagement, I find Upwork a great platform for finding temporary and long-term part-time employees. I have also practiced my business pitch and clarified my business needs by interviewing freelancers on Upwork. The more people I interview, the more concrete my vision becomes. I also find the interview process a great way to figure out what I’m looking for in a candidate.

If you are an early to mid-stage startup company with more than 20 employees, you may want to use a new platform called DoneHire. DoneHire is comparable to outsourced headhunting. For example, if your company partners with DoneHire, you can begin leveraging the extended network of your employees. Not only can existing employees refer candidates your way, the network of those candidates can also apply. Similar to using a headhunter, the company will only pay a fee for the referral if you decide to hire the referred candidate. DoneHire’s platform will be live by the end of April. Check it out!

2.) Use a recruitment agency

This is definitely not rocket science. But it’s always good to be validated by someone else besides me. According to an article written by Startup Buzz, one of the more reliable ways to market your company and find the right candidate is to use a manpower service. They don’t get paid unless you feel that the candidate is worth the placement fee. So, why not?

3.) Crowdsource solutions and monetize their efforts

I recently read an incredible article written by Joel Butterly, Cofounder and CEO of InGenius Prep. He wanted to use smart content to draw talents' attention, ideally 10-15 high-quality articles per week. Given that he bootstrapped his company, he didn't have the manpower to push out that many articles each week. So he posted a question that needed an answer in different forums and platform. He would select the best responses and offer those respondents a fee. The selected group was also invited to write more articles for the company.

4.) Recruit former colleagues

I prefer hiring someone I’ve worked with more than hiring a friend. While your friend is someone who understand you and whom you enjoy being around, it doesn’t mean that this person will take your instructions. In the event this person underperforms and needs to be let go, you can potentially burn the relationship. If you end up hiring someone you’ve worked with, not only are you hiring someone who’s a great culture fit, you also know how this person works.

If you have other creative ideas you'd like to share, please either email them to me at or comment below.

#recruitment #hiring #talentacquisition

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