Hiring isn’t a simple process for startups. Any recruitment drive can be thwart with hidden costs and time-consuming tasks. The cost of a poor hire has been well documented in the industry. Although, if you get this right, it could be the difference between success and failure. If you’re looking to make a new hire, this essential recruitment advice for startups from Innovate UK can help.

Tip #1: Be Honest About What You Can Afford

Make key hires that can fill skill gaps and complement existing staff to help you reach the next level.” – Zac Williams, Founder and Director at GradTouch.

Can you afford to take on a new hire? It’s the obvious choice though not always the most suitable for your business. Outsourcing is a worthy alternative that needs some serious consideration. More and more small businesses are turning to freelancers to fill the gaps they need in their business.

There’s numerous reasons why we’re seeing this trend:

  • Freelancers offer both experience and expertise

  • You can tap into a freelancer’s talent without paying their salary

  • You can change their input to meet demand

Tip #2: Hire Skills You Need

Growth is not just about profit; bigger budgets allow us to use skilled freelancer, increasing the quality of our output.” – Graeme McGowan, Creative Partner at Jamhot.

It’s important to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current team before you start advertising your vacancy. What positions do you need filling? What skills could take you to the next level? It’s worth looking beyond the core competencies of your current team, often branching out will help your brand’s future development.

Another vital requirement to fulfil before the recruitment process is to read up on the law. Know what is and what isn’t acceptable. There are plenty of guides out there to help you. A great place to start would be the Gov website.

Tip #3: Explore All Channels

Utilising specialist websites for your industry can give quicker access to appropriate skills.” – Gary Cassey, MD of Cass Productions.

Now you’ve settled on the position you need to fill, where will you find the ideal candidate? You’ve got numerous possibilities here.

Recruitment agencies may be your first choice but their fees could price you out the market. Another obvious option is the large job boards. These will lead a high amount of traffic to your vacancy but won’t necessarily be cost effective.

Your best place to start will be niche job boards. These are often cheaper (sometimes free) and are usually highly specialised to your topic. This means the applicants you see will be relevant. Your network is another great place to advertise your vacancy. It costs nothing to post an update or two on social media and see what happens.

Don’t forget to consider your customer base or internal promotions too. The perfect candidate could be hiding in a seemingly unlikely place.

Tip #4: Scrutinise Your Applicants

99% of being successful is about having the right attitude. Those people can learn new skills.” – James Vizor, CEO of RULE Recruitment.

Have you considered employer brand yet? You need to if you want to attract the right type of applicants. Employer brand is the way you portray your business during the recruitment process. Think about your culture and values – the better you communicate this now, the more likely you are to attract talent which connects with your company.

So, what are you looking for in an applicant? We’re not talking about skills here, instead personal traits. What characteristics do you want to see from people working in your startup/SME? If you’re unsure, do a little research and see what other brands consider to be important. This will be aligned closely with your company culture.

[Founder Institute]