Cash strapped? With the right strategy, you can hire a winning team even without a big war chest

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Be clear with your corporate culture and values, so that you can attract the right talent in the first place

 

Hiring can be resource sapping – but few entrepreneurs have the resources to spare, especially in the early stages of their business. Plus the expected long working hours and risk (90 per cent of startups fail within their first 3 years), how can entrepreneurs hire the best talent, even when resources are tight? What resources can they use? What tips, tricks, and techniques should you know about?

Here are three key strategies to champion it:

Promote your employer brand

Keep your company top of mind for star recruits. Differentiate yourselves from large corporates by leveraging content — share your mission and values, post pictures of life in your startup and promote your work culture on various social media channels. Get yourselves out there.

Salesforce did a fantastic job at leveraging Instagram to showcase the exciting lives of its employees by using the #dreamjob hashtag in 2016. From adorable baby pictures to views of offices in various countries, the Salesforce Instagram account highlights all the best aspects of being a Salesforce employee.

Since January 2017, the company has been promoting its culture with the #EqualityForAll hashtag. To make it easier for talents to jump from Instagram to applying for a job at Salesforce, they insert a profile link to the company’s careers page, where the #EqualityForAll theme continues. This creates a cohesive message across all platforms and further empowers Salesforce’s employer brand.

Also read: 3 hiring hacks for scaling an international success in your local market

Other than social media, as a founder, get on as many speaking engagements as possible. Sell your story. Inspire, educate and attract. You will soon get top talents knocking on your door!

Reach passive job seekers on social media

According to Betterteam, 75 per cent of people who aren’t looking for a new job has the biggest untapped source of potential candidates. They will not see the job advertisement you post to your favourite job board, nor will they visit your company’s career page.

Promote your job posting on various social media channels and make it appealing with visuals. Get your employees to champion your company by encouraging them to share available positions. Also, you can consider an employee referral scheme. PeerBrief is one of the useful employee referral platforms in Singapore.

Alternatively, check out Wantedly, a social media platform where people and companies meet based on passion and values, rather than money or benefits. They aim to create a workplace culture where people are happy in their jobs that they are driven to work hard to develop themselves and the company. It is an incredible success in Japan, and they have since launched in Singapore!

Write winning job descriptions (JDs)

Here are four simple tips to ensure your “engagement” with potential job candidates is high.

Pitch: The mindset must be right. You are selling to a “passive” job seeker.  He/she may not be looking for a job so be clear about “what’s in it” for him/her?  Pitch like you would address an investor or customer. Compare these two opening lines, and you will see the difference.

 

VS

Personal: Replace “The ideal candidate” with “You”.  Engage and connect with your audiences.

Strengths: Emphasise the strengths needed for the role versus simply listing down the responsibilities, i.e., you love “analysing data”  to solve problems instead of the role is to solve problems.

Also read: These Malaysian companies share 5 unconventional hiring hacks that can get you talent from the most unexpected of places

List skills: List the Must-Haves and separate them from the Nice-to-Haves.  This ensures that the candidate knows exactly what skills are non-negotiable.

Now, we will debunk some myths about hiring great talent and examine some popular questions startup founders have over hiring issues based on my experience. So, let’s start:

Hiring ex-employees of big companies equals to hiring rock-star talent

This is a classic example of where startups tend to go wrong with their first key hires. Startup founders new to hiring often make the mistake of keeping everything in the abstract rather than drilling down into results. It is easy to get “wowed” by the big names. However, you have to fully understand how the potential candidate will benefit your company as a whole. Just because someone has worked for big names such as Facebook, Google, or Uber, does not necessarily make them the right fit for your company. So, don’t get “wowed” just yet.

Do skills, personality or preference tests for every key position you hire to provide you with more concrete data points. Evaluate how the shortlisted candidates answer behavioural questions (drawing from experience) and ask non-work related questions to assess their mindset for e.g., who do you admire and why? For senior hires, have them prepare presentations or business cases on topics or challenges your company faces to assess their abilities. See them in action in real-time.

Which is the priority, right business experience or cultural fit?

Zappos, well-known as one of the companies with a fantastic culture, hires according to cultural fit first and foremost. It has established what the company culture is, and fitting into that culture is the most important thing their managers look for when hiring. This action has promoted their culture not only vastly, but also ultimately made their customers happy.

While skillsets can be learned, it’s hard to instill the right mindset and personalities into someone. Make your culture and values clear on your company’s website and in external material, so that only the right individuals apply in the first place.

Good pay, great flexibility, and awesome office space attract top talent

As attractive as it sounds, your top talent may not last. The most important thing is to understand what motivates them: interesting challenges, talented coworkers, or working on a product that gets used by a lot of people. Money and free-flow pantry are great, but we all have a motivation which is greater than money.

The opportunity to do great things, to make a real difference, is what drives most top talent regardless of their roles. The talent you want would be happy to work in an un-airconditioned warehouse in Indonesia if it meant the chance to change the world.

Also read: There are some dark sides to working from home (but I do not care)

Most companies do not offer this, but you have to be different. Offer them something exciting and great. The promise of creating an innovative product that helps to solve a real world problem (improving the delivery time of a ramen delivery by 2 minutes does not count) is an incredibly exciting challenge and a big way for ambitious people to make an impact.

However, it takes more than lip service to make the sale. These top talent must truly believe in your company’s mission and that they are empowered to make this change. Empower your top talent to be innovative is one of the best lasting factors that will make them loyal to you.

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The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

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