Five top tips for early-stage talent acquisition  

Five top tips for early-stage talent acquisition  

Entrepreneurs of early-stage start-ups deal with several challenges tasks when starting out. Ask any founders and they will tell you that hiring talent is one of the most important, but challenging things to get right. Here are five tips to consider when hiring from Raluca Ciobancan, Head of Talent at Founders Factory

Profile Identification is the process of understanding what the needs of your team are. You may want to ask yourself some useful questions such as:  

  • What do I need in my team 
  • What are the current strengths in my team 
  • What do we want to be able to achieve with a new role 
  • What is the most value add skill set needed at this stage

In addition to this, it is worth spending some time understanding what your vision statement is for team building. For example, a vision statement that helps employees and new joiners to understand why your company is unique and what qualities you are looking for to broaden the team’s skill set, and how everybody can work together.

The Job Description can be one of the most important aspects when hiring. As with all job descriptions, you want to appeal to the right audience.

Start with taking the time to think about what the right team composition is for your company. The three most common things job seekers look for before applying to roles are:

  • Insight into company culture and character. This is due to job seekers wanting to apply to roles that align with their personal career values
  • Reasons why they should back the mission and the vision of a company
  • Insight into the hiring managers, their background and leadership style

Try to make sure you are conveying the company culture, the outline of the role, skills required and the benefits or unique opportunities when writing the job description to encourage applications.

Attraction is another key element to hiring talent. To attract the best candidates, look to use an application tracking system which will allow you to

  • Automatically post your role to LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed and other recruitment centred websites
  • Helps you manage the candidate experience if you need to send bulk messages or to funnel applicants through different stages of the process
  • Stay organised and have a process to keep interested candidates in one place
  • Allows your wider team to have oversight of the process if you choose

Consider allocating some spend to your search. For example, allocating £100 to ads on LinkedIn over the course of 5 days in order to maximise the reach of your role. There are also other job boards such as Angel List, Otta and WorkInStartups that may be useful to use. Rely on your network, the groups you are a part of and ask team members for referrals.  

Assessment will need to be managed. Starting your hiring process with scorecards so you know what you are assessing for will assist in qualifying candidates. Here are a few specific things you might want to do:

Create a set of questions for interviews that will serve to help with the scorecard assessments.

Create a step-by-step process that works for you – see below an example 4-step process:

  • Intelligence Screening through your applicant tracking system – candidates will self-qualify by answering questions you have set.
  • Phone interview to begin talking through career journeys to date, challenges a candidate may have faced and a mix of both hard and soft skill questions.
  • Consider creating a take home task – design a task which is reflective of the work you are asking for in the role, allocate a time period such as one week for all selected candidates to complete the task and give specific instructions on what you would like to see in order to set candidates up for success.
  • Final step involves a series of interview with key stakeholders of the company. This could be three or four different team members present and start with a candidate presentation.

Onboarding. It doesn’t stop here and this can take time and is still super important to get right:

Allow your new candidate three months of learning space before expecting them to deliver value. Check-in with them frequently, make them aware of the support they have available to them, make sure to introduce them to others in the company. Involve them in all meetings possible and reinforce target behaviours through personalised recognition.

We hope the top tips from Raluca will help you in your journey to finding the right talent for your businesss. Find out more information about MDR Lab and our Improve programme here.