Startup hiring is tough.  But a solid team is critical – it’s often listed in the top 3 reasons why startups fail.  Unfortunately, we’ve got a £2.2bn skills gap, possibly compounded by Brexit, so competition is getting fiercer.  Startups now need to work even harder to beat big brands with funky offices and free massages, in the race to win top talent.  Here are a few tips to get started.

Basic principles

Cut any fluff from your job description and get feedback to ensure it’s easy to understand.  Include your values.  Hire slow, fire fast.  Try hiring candidates as freelancers for a short project first.


  1. Use a freelancer

Freelancers are perfect for startups.  They’re less risky – if they’re not a good fit, don’t use them again.  Pay per project – avoid adding another salary to your fixed costs.  For remote workers, use Upwork.  For super cheap tasks, use Fiverr.  Or to find someone based in London, who’s still affordable, use Crowdskills.


  1. Reach out to people you already know

It can be easy to forget that you’ve got hundreds of connections on LinkedIn who might be interested in joining your startup and working with you.  Well worth a few searches.  Also try posting your job across all your social media networks.  Use Typeform for receiving applications hassle-free.

  1. Target people who want a startup job is a great first choice – post your job for free to an audience already looking for opportunities in startups.  Other startup-focussed job boards include AngelList, UKStartupJobs, TechLondon and Unicorn Hunt.  You can also try events – Silicon Milk Roundabout is one of the better known events, plus there’s a bunch of regular networking event like Silicon Drinkabout where you can meet jobseekers informally.

  1. Consider a graduate

Exhibit at university careers fairs (around £200 a pop) to meet thousands of students and graduates.   Or use a specialist graduate recruiter or two.  Another option is sourcing people with career experience, who then learn a tech skill at bootcamps like General Assembly or Makers Academy.  In general, graduates are cheaper, and enthusiastic, but can require a little hand holding to get started.


Last thoughts

I’d try the above tips in that order – freelancers, your network, startup jobs spaces and then graduates.  But hey, if you’ve got the money and want the extra support, go for a regular recruiter.  Check out the latest recruitment firms of 2018, and this list of recruiters.

Feel free to ping me for advice on hiring freelancers.

Rock on!

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