In the race to find top talent, speed might just be the name of the game. Whether your startup company is pre- or post-funding, getting the right people on board as quickly as possible is the best way to ensure success. You certainly do not want your competitors to scoop up the top talent your organization needs to grow and thrive.
"Startups are in a race to distinguish themselves," said Alex Rahaman, CEO and founder of StrikeAd. "There is no better way to do so than striking while the iron is hot."
Here are some things to consider when looking to cut down your startup's time-to-hire and still nab the top talent:
Hire a Team
Instead of focusing on finding the best individual candidates, perhaps it is time to extend your search to include more people. Hiring a whole team can be a great way to quickly and efficiently populate your company with top talent. It might be more expensive to pick up a whole team instead of individual employees, but your company will be saving time and money in the long run by cutting down the search for multiple roles.
"Try to hire entire teams -- they've worked together in the past and have a common language, which will improve your velocity," advised Will Hsu, co-founder of MuckerLab.
Think of it like an intense form of the employee referral. These new employees know each other and have demonstrated their ability to work together to achieve common goals. By hiring an entire team with a proven record, you can save a lot of time that would otherwise go into building chemistry and an understanding between individual team members before the team is fully functional and productive.
Unlike a huge multinational organization or Fortune 500 company, your startup is most likely working on a tight budget and with serious time constraints. This is why staying organized is the easiest way to hire faster and more effectively. You need to know which candidates are top prospects, which candidates you've interviewed, and which candidates should receive an immediate offer.
"It's important to treat hiring like a core business process that can be optimized and measured -- and eventually improved," Hsu said. "Using a recruitment platform helps with all of that."
In addition, social recruiting and applicant tracking can help you isolate your best sources of talent. For instance, maybe your career page is not bringing you the quality candidates you need, while your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter job postings might be accounting for most of your best candidates. This may prompt you to revamp your careers site and to focus on connecting with candidates on social media.
Never Stop Recruiting
Recruiting is a strategic activity which should never stop, even if your company does not have any current open positions. Finding the best people is an important survival skill for startups and you never know when you will need a top tier candidate to quickly hop onboard.
"Every key player should be coached to constantly be in recruiting mode, even if there is no immediate opening," said Charley Polachi, a partner at Polachi Access Executive Search. "Garnering top talent is all about networks and referrals -- the speed will come if the structure and mindset is already in place."
If you've already established an attractive talent pipeline for your company by making the recruitment process continuous, hiring fast will be a snap. When a position opens up, your company will already have multiple leads from your use of strategic networking, referrals, and social media connections.
Get Creative With Your Referral Incentives
Your current employees should be your first line of attack when looking for new talent for your open positions.
"Usually startup employees have a particular state of mind and a higher-than-average tolerance to risk, making their friends relatively good fits as well for startups," said Christian Miccio, founder of MPme Limited.
Since your startup is more flexible, you can also get more creative with your referral incentives and candidate perks. If you are short on cash bonuses, you can still think of enticing ways to incentivize the employee referral process.
Miccio suggests you can offer tangible rewards like an iPhone 5, fun perks like more vacation time or even workplace responsibilities like a great new project.The key is to really know your employees, so you understand what perks will get them referring their talented friends.
"In large companies you have to standardize rewards," Miccio said. "In small companies you have the freedom to be totally flexible."
There's a war on for the best talent and the only way to win is to make the first move. When it comes to hiring, you want your company to have first pick and not be scrambling for good candidates after your competitors have grabbed the ones who could have been the best fit for your company. Hiring teams, getting organized, incentivizing the referral process, and continuously recruiting are some of the best ways to find the talent your company needs to grow fast.
What are some tips you have for hiring faster for your startup? Share in the comments!