“You know, as most entrepreneurs do, that a company is only as good as its people. The hard part is actually building the team that will embody your company culture and propel you forward.” ~Kathryn Minshew, The Muse.
Hiring and retaining key employees can make or break a startup. When you search for your first employees you are asking them to take a chance on you and to invest their time, energy, and passion into your company's future.
We know that the stakes are high. Most startups fail, and at the beginning, startups cannot afford to pay corporate salaries. Startups are like babies and they require a lot of energy and attention but are extremely rewarding.
In a startup, key employees are always learning and trying new things and they have a fast line towards career progression. And if recruiting and retention are done properly, they are part of a close-knit and high-performing team committed to having a massive impact.
But how can you ensure that you recruit and retain the right tech talent for your startup?
We will split the topics of recruitment and retainment in two blog posts. In today's post, we will focus on strategies to recruit tech talent and, in the following week, we will bring the second part with strategies to retain your new employees.
Top 3 Strategies to Recruit Talent
Ambitious startups grow really fast. As such, one of the most important tasks of a startup is to find the best talent who fits in your company culture and who is willing to go the extra mile to achieve your vision.
These are the top 3 strategies we use at Appstrax to recruit top talent:
1. Make Interviewing Pleasant
Interviewing is just like dating. It is a discovery process to determine from both sides whether there is potential for a long-term fruitful relationship. When you start dating or interviewing both parties enter blindsided. The discovery process is time-consuming and as such it must be seen as an investment.
As a startup, you are the date planner, it is in your hands to make the process incredibly fun, positive, and effective or to make it intimidating, stressful, and boring. If you choose the latter, don’t expect talent to stick around. Tech talent has options.
Tech giants are famous for offering lucrative compensation to their programmers and extensive benefits, attracting most top players. But did you know that most programmers choose to work for small, culture first, and mission-oriented firms?
Treat each interview as a precious date while ensuring that you don’t sacrifice effectiveness for fun. According to the Breezy, making a bad hiring mistake can cost you up to 30% of the employees' annual salary and as a startup, this can break your business.
At Appstrax, we conducted a creative thinking workshop to turn interviews into conversations, technical interviews into mini hackathons, and to include our amazing team and our company culture into the process. We treat all candidates with respect and are consciously grateful that they have invested their time to get to know us.
Show the candidates your value and make it easy for them to show you theirs. This will help you attract the right people who can help the company conquer your goals.
2. Leverage The Power Of Networking
According to Stack Overflow, 65% of tech talent is happy in their job, 57.6% is open to new work opportunities but only 17.3% are actively searching for new opportunities.
This means that your job ads are being viewed by a very small percentage of your potential candidates. It is your job to put yourself out there and be active in the tight-knit tech community.
Please don’t be a spammer. If you send a copy-and-paste LinkedIn message to all the technical people in your network, believe me, it will be ignored.
Instead, do what we focus on here at Appstrax: adding value to tech candidates' lives either through personalized advice, useful connections, or sharing relevant content.
You can also think outside the box. Invite your tech network to no-strings-attached fun events such as hackathons or Friday drinks at your company where they can get a taste of your company and your culture.
By being active in social media and in physical tech events, you will have access to the people who are happy at work and not actively searching for work.
You have lead by adding value, so people will be more receptive to hear you out. If your vision aligns with them, they will be more likely to take a chance on you and on your company.
3. Be Ready To Invest In People
According to a study conducted by Korn Ferry, by 2030, all the countries in the world, except India, will have a shortage of technology, media, and telecommunications talent.
New tech-related roles, programming languages, and technologies appear every year, and because they are new, no one has the “desired” experience in it.
As startups, you have to be willing to take a chance in people and hire for passion, willingness to learn, and cultural fit; not skills. There is not enough people with the desired skills, but there are many individuals whom if given the change, would beat the odds and become a valuable addition to your company.
At Appstrax, we hire passionate non-technical people who want to learn to code. Through our intensive mentorship and training program, we develop highly skilled programmers in one year.
We also invest in graduates with technical and non-technical backgrounds and with zero experience. We give them a challenge and if they demonstrate grit and passion, we take a chance in them. Some of our most committed employees have come through these initiatives.
Recruiting is about creating meaningful relationship with people. The first interview with a candidate needs to be pleasant for both sides. Nurture the relationship with the power of networking, constantly adding value to your tech candidates' lives through sharing useful content.
As you can see, this means that you must be ready to invest on people before and during the hiring process. Once a candidate joins your company, how to keep them on the long-term?
Keep one eye on the next blog post: Best Strategies For Startups To Retain Top Tech Talent.