How to attract talent to your business & build a team

How to attract talent to your business & build a team

Movemeon: jobs, insight, events and career tips for (ex-)consultants and freelancers. Click here to create a free account and access all our opportunities.

Decide what you need, sell everything about where you work, choose where to advertise and remember the five commandments of hiring for a startup displayed at the end of this article.

Bringing in multiple people makes a considerable change from consultancy, where you might have been managing a structured group of high performers. Where do you start?

Decide what you need

Roles in start-ups especially can be incredibly flexible, and often I get asked by hiring managers where I think they should hire. In reality, they already know, because they’ve just told me. What you need is a clear idea of what needs to be done and what skills or experiences are needed for success. The clearer you are able to be on this from the start the easier (and quicker) your hiring process will be. If you’re stuck at two profiles and think either could work; keep an open mind and double the size of the pool you’re looking for. Ultimately, start-up hires depend quite a lot on cultural fit.

Sell everything about where you work

Tell people. Tell them about your background and help them understand who they will be working with. Put it in the job description! Equally, good marketing is being able to say the thing the other side can’t. The more you can flesh out what your team, mission and progression look like the more top candidates will engage.

Play it smart

  1. Low hanging fruit
    There is a reasonable chance that someone in your network knows the right person for your opportunity, so reach out to them. Make sure no one in your team (or former team) can do the job and see if anyone in your network can make a recommendation. I would give this about a week to see if there is any low hanging & cost effective fruit you can tuck into.
  2. Escalation
    Sadly, sometimes the answer isn’t sitting right there in front of you. Now comes the time to get some help. I think of this as the most dangerous time for a recruitment process, there is a thin line between turning on the tap and smashing the faucet and drowning the hiring team. 
    By turning on taps one by one you create a more manageable flow and you give yourself time to evaluate the strength of each source. 

Reach out for external help

How do you decide how to stagger external help? The key to a successful search is engaging several of the ‘right’ applicants; things can easily go wrong when you only have one person you like in your pipeline. Movemeon is built around engagement, and born out of frustration, so its very design centres on an enjoyable and engaging candidate experience. As such, the best candidates are already on the site actively searching and you aren’t relying on an agency to chase people in a limited network and sell them one of them on the role.

Cheaper tech-enabled options, like Movemeon, can actually be quicker than traditional search so there is an additional twin benefit to exploring this option first (Movemeon looks to provide a first shortlist in two weeks whereas some search companies can take over two months). If you don’t have initial success with a tap and you’ve given it two or three weeks there’s no harm on turning on the next source, but managing flow is a must.

Understanding needs

Get as much data as you can. Also, use the resources in front of you: what does the hiring manager think. The “needs” are often not “more money”, but instead more soft factors like “room for personal impact” etc.

Reach the right audience

It’s critical your channel is reaching the right people. Trial different channels and test the effectiveness of each: record hiring metrics like role description views, number of screening calls. This also gives hiring managers the confidence that they are seeing the best people

Focus on the profile, not the experience

Effective assessment requires a clear understanding of the intrinsics you want to attract, and a way to assess these. The first step is understanding the intrinsic skills you’re looking for: this is very different to experience.

Take a long-term view

Assess for what you want this person to become, not what they need to be at the start. Interviews are notoriously bad at selection (some studies site below 50% effectiveness). It’s critical the right people are interviewing (i.e., founders might not be the best) and people are trained in interviewing

If you’re interested in this article, take a look at some of our other content relating to this topic:

  • What happens to your salary when you leave consulting for a startup? 
  • 6 ways to attract the best talent to your organisation
  • How the best startups hire and what we can all learn from them


Follow us on Linkedin