5 Tips For Attracting Top Talent At Your Startup

Hiring the best talent is vital for any company, but none more so than at a startup. Does the candidate have the right skills? Are they a good culture fit? Do they understand you don’t necessarily have everything figured out right now, but are moving in the right direction? These are just a few of the questions that startup hiring managers regularly ask before and throughout the recruitment process.

Here are a few tips to help you hire better talent at your startup.

Design an attractive careers page

One of the first places a potential candidate will look before applying to work at your startup is your website. No doubt this has been thoughtfully designed to attract new customers but we often see little thought given to attracting new hires. 

A well-designed careers page is vital to attracting the best talent and yet so many startups don’t have one. Go beyond a list of roles and focus on something that’s going to really engage potential candidates. Your careers page should focus on your company mission, where you started and how you’ve progressed. It should include bio’s of the senior management team and honest thoughts from current employees about what it’s like to work at your company. For an excellent example of a well-designed careers page, check out this one.

Employee referrals 

The best candidates are usually direct referrals from your current employees, board or investors. Employees understand your brand, your culture and are able to explain the duties of the role better than anyone else. It may seem like a pain to ask current employees to reach out to their network, but generally they’re more inclined to help with the hiring process if it makes them feel part of your growth and there’s a reward offered for success. Incentives always help and most companies will offer a financial bonus, often half being paid when a referred candidate joins the company and half paid after they’ve completed their probation period. 

Employer brand 

Your startup’s brand as an employer and how it’s perceived by candidates is vital to attracting, hiring and retaining top talent and yet is often neglected by so many startups. This presents a huge opportunity for smaller startups to compete with more established companies, simply by having a better employer brand.

Having a strong employer brand alone isn’t enough. Just as with your company’s brand, it doesn’t count for much if you’re not in front of the people who matter… in this case, potential candidates. Where you push your employer brand depends on the type of candidates you’re looking for. As a minimum, your startup should have a LinkedIn Company Page and a Twitter account – both of which should be updated weekly at a minimum. 

If you’re looking for recent graduates, Instagram and Facebook usually perform well. If you’re hiring for something more senior, LinkedIn is a good place to start. Software Developers can be less engaging over LinkedIn simply because they’re bombarded daily with requests from recruiters, but they’re usually receptive on Twitter. We’ll write a future post on where best to engage with the different candidates you’re looking to hire.

Offer perks & benefits

Startups are often known for having ‘perks’ such as bean bags and table tennis. These may seem great at first but often lose value with employees pretty quickly. Instead, offer perks which provide real value to employees over the long term. The best part is, they don’t require a big budget either. We’ll write a future post on the benefits we often see offered at the startups we work with and how effective they really are. As a quick overview, benefits such as structured career progression, flexible working, company lunches and team events are great ways to get started. 

Streamline your hiring process

Creating an interview process which really works for your startup takes planning as well as trial and error. Keep in mind that what works at another company may not work at your startup. Interview processes that are too short can often lead to a poor hire and sometimes leave the candidate nervous about accepting because they’re not yet bought into your company or mission – and are probably aware you’re rushing the process. Likewise, a process that’s too long risks losing the best candidates. As the saying goes; ‘time kills all deals’ and this is never more true than in hiring.

We’ll write a future post on how to create a solid, repeatable interview process which delivers results but as a quick guide, you should decide on an interview process and the hiring team before engaging candidates. Candidates should be made aware of the process and expected timeframe at the beginning of the process. Transparency is key and it will help automatically build trust between both parties. 

Bonus tip – always give feedback

Also, always remember to provide constructive feedback to everyone – even candidates who applied but didn’t progress to interview. It can take time but it works wonders for your employer brand and will really help those candidates with applications in the future. 

Even the smallest startups can attract the best talent by taking the right steps. Hopefully, these 5 quick tips will help you with your next hire. Remember – you don’t need a big budget to hire really talented people. 


At Hired By Startups we’re a leading startup recruitment agency, helping high growth startups source, engage & hire the best commercial talent. So whether you need to make a single hire, recruit an entire team or hire a leadership role, we’ve got you covered.

To explore how we could help you hire, get in touch. 


About the author 

Tom Ladds

Hi, I’m Tom – Founder & CEO at Hired By Startups. You can connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Hiring Tips, Startup Recruiting