5 Shrewd Ways to Attract Top Talent

Below is the second in a series of guest posts on hiring from Keith Cline, founder of VentureFizz, a website about technology and entrepreneurship in Boston. Read Keith's first guest post here. Keith has fourteen years of experience in the start-up recruiting industry. He is also the founder of Dissero, a recruiting firm focused on early to mid-stage venture-backed technology companies. Follow him on Twitter @kcline6 or @VentureFizz.


5 Shrewd Ways to Attract Top Talent

You need to stand out as you recruit your start-up team. Here's how.

Everyone knows that it's difficult to attract top talent, especially if your company is relatively new and unknown. Here are some strategic ways to help you build buzz around your company's recruiting efforts.

1.  Start with your employees.

Your current employees are the best advertising for your company. Of course, that means you have to set a high bar of hiring the best, and build a culture where people love working, and are passionate about seeing it succeed.

Since great people know other great people, your employees can advocate on your behalf and create a spider-web effect. Make sure you effectively communicate the vision and mission of your company so that your message is disseminated to prospective employees in a consistent way. You can also speed up the process by incentivizing employees; dole out referral bonuses or other perks for introducing awesome candidates who are successfully hired.

2.  Expose yourself.

Get your company message out there and give prospective employees an inside look. You can do this by adding an informative careers section to your website and distributing updates on social media.

In addition to job listings, your job page should have a description of your company, including why a job seeker would want to work for you: how you're disrupting an industry, growing fast, or helping people, for instance. Twitter's jobs section does an excellent job of showcasing why it is a great place to build a career. Shoot and post a fun video to help candidates learn about your company and meet some of the people who already work there. I like Backupify's, if you want to check out an example. You can also communicate job openings through your company's Twitter handle and Facebook page. TripAdvisor has a Twitter account called @TripAdvisorJobs for people to follow and stay up-to-date about job openings and other recruiting tidbits.

3.  Be creative, have fun!

Think about your product or the personality of your company and then use it to your advantage.

HubSpot produces parody videos that give you a sense about the company's lighthearted culture.  Craft Coffee, a subscription service in New York looking for a Ruby on Rails developer, built a microsite to help create buzz for the position and educate developers about why working for the company could be a good professional opportunity. To help out, it also offered a one-week trip to a coffee-growing country like Brazil or Colombia.

4.  Post the job.

Wait, you thought job boards were passé and so Web 1.0? That's not true! Job boards can be very effective if you are spending your time and money in the right spots. Avoid broad sites like Monster and Craigslist; instead use highly specialized job boards where your target audience is spending time. For creative or user-experience web designers and developers, I suggest sites like Smashing Jobs. There are also regional sites for start-up jobs like VentureFizz (which I founded) in Boston and New York.

5.  Do good!

Give back to the community. Sponsoring an industry event or having your employees volunteer some time locally will get a positive vibe out there about your company. This type of goodwill goes a long way in terms attracting top people.

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