How to Get Great People to Work for Your Startup

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Startup. Thatword evokes different emotions among different people. To some -- excitement! Others feel like it’s a big risk and perhaps out of their comfort zone. Of course, qualifying candidates is important, but there is an element of “selling” that has to be done as well. Think about the things you can offer desirable candidates who may feel a bit unsure in the early stages of your discussion. Here are a few selling points to help you tell your story and position your company as “the place to be”. (All may not be relevant to your company, but the idea is to get you thinking outside the box.)

  1. Wear Many Hats! There are often no limits to the job description. "All hands on deck" is usually the mantra. If that is actually the case, position the opportunity to potential candidates as a chance to get involved on different levels. They will be able to expand their skillsets and be exposed to things they may not have expected or been trained for in the past.
  2. Exposure to Executive Management. Typically you have a pretty small environment in the early stages, so let candidates know that they will have the opportunity to work closely with leadership running the show. Having access to that level, isn’t going to happen every day. In particular, for someone at an early stage in their career.
  3. Money Talks. But so does Equity. Pretty rare for startups to offer salaries of top dollar, but can you provide equity opportunities? The excitement of building something new coupled with the potential of a fruitful payout can be quite appealing to go-getters.
  4. Make an Impact. Working at a startup often provides the opportunity to see the work individuals do actually help move the company forward in a visible way. Sure, there’s no hiding for non-performers, but there is plenty of space for recognition in advancing the company’s success.
  5. Access to Customers. Depending on your company’s business, are you able to offer the chance for your employees to have contact with customers? This is appealing to some and not always plausible at larger organizations.

Most of these “sales points” can also be great “screen outs”. If candidates don’t respond positively to at least some of these drivers, really dig in to see if they are suited to fit a startup culture. Finally, don’t limit to the ideas above. This is really meant to help stimulate some thinking for you to discover some great things you can offer to future employees!

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