5 Killer Reasons You Are Not Sourcing the Talent Your Startup Needs



Are you having difficulty landing the talent you need to take your business to the next level? If so, you wouldn’t be alone. Believe it or not, as many as 65 percent of businesses say they have a hard time finding the right people for the job.

But there could be an easy fix. If you’re having trouble sourcing the talent your business needs to thrive, consider whether you’re guilty of any of the following:

  1. The best engineers have more job offers than they know what to do with, and yours isn’t standing out.

One reason it’s hard to land top talent is quite simple: These folks are the best of the best, and their skills are constantly in demand. At any given time, they may be dealing with multiple job offers. As such, it’s important to do all that is within your power to make sure that your offer is the one that shines brighter than those made by competing companies.

For starters, most people don’t really like to work for free, so you’re going to have to make sure your salary offer is at least competitive. To have an even better chance of landing top talent, you should always try to offer more than comparable companies. So do your due diligence to try to benchmark salaries on the web. Figure out what the going rate is for the kind of job you’re looking to hire for, and up the offer a bit.

Beyond salary, you’ll also want to build competitive benefit packages. Standard packages include health and dental insurance, 401k plans and paid time off. Companies that offer great benefits might pay for their employees’ insurance premiums; generously match 401k contributions; embrace flexible working environments; and even offer “unlimited” vacation, among other things. Position your organization accordingly.

  1. You aren’t delivering value to your candidates.

Traditionally, recruiters might have looked at candidates to see what kind of value each individual would potentially bring to the company. Today, top talent looks at companies to see what kind of value they’ll deliver—i.e., how a company will benefit the candidate—should they decide to accept an offer.

The easiest way to deliver value to candidates is to find out what makes them tick. Let them shape interviews by asking them open-ended questions, bringing the conversation to wherever they’re taking it. That way, you’ll be able to find out what they’re looking for in a position—and you can cater the job description toward those desires.

For example, let’s say a candidate for a graphic designer position says she enjoys working from home when she has a huge project on her plate. She likes the peace and quiet and can get more done. Don’t let your company’s old-fashioned work-in-the-office policy prevent you from hiring the best people. If she wants to work from home a few days a week, let her. If nothing else, it shows that your company cares about her needs.

  1. You don’t have much experience hiring candidates.

Anyone who’s looked for a job at any time in recent memory will tell you the same thing: The job search process can be a harrowing experience—particularly when it drags on longer and longer.

If you haven’t hired many folks before, it might be worth trying to put yourself in your candidates’ shoes to try and see the process from their perspective. For example, no one likes waiting weeks to hear back from a company as to whether or not it’s interested. And since you should assume top talent has another offer on the table—or at least one coming down the pike—it’s crucial to act swiftly and swoop up the best candidates the moment you make a decision.

Additionally, it’s important that you yourself are comfortable interviewing candidates. You don’t want to risk appearing nervous or awkward; such behavior could scare off top talent.

  1. You source new candidates manually instead of relying on your applicant tracking system.

Thanks to the rise of the Internet, social media, data analytics and other technologies, it’s no longer cost-effective or really worth your time to source candidates manually. After all, it’s a laborious, time-exhausting process. And if it doesn’t work out, when all is said and done, you’ll be right back where you started: looking for a great candidate to fill an empty position.

To make sure that you remain competitive in terms of sourcing new candidates, you need to make use of the applicant tracking system your company’s put in place. Your applicant tracking system makes it easier to find the best candidates, helping you wrap up the hiring process considerably faster.

  1. Your job description is unappetizing and unexciting.

All you need to do is spend a few minutes on Craigslist, LinkedIn or another job board to see how many other positions there are out there. Indeed, in today’s increasingly connected world, there really isn’t a shortage of jobs available for the best candidates.

To make sure that the top candidates are applying for your positions, you’ve first got to make sure you’re getting noticed. You don’t want to produce run-of-the-mill job postings; the Internet is riddled with job ads looking for “go-getters” who thrive in “challenging environments” that offer “great compensation.”

So enliven your job descriptions a little bit. Don’t use templates. If you’re looking to hire a skilled programmer who’s fresh out of college, don’t write a job posting that appeals to 58-year-old morticians. Have fun and be creative, and really try to convey what your company’s all about. Show prospective candidates what makes your organization different and why they should spend their time applying.

Good luck!

Image credit: CC by Bernard Spragg. NZ

About the author: Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery leads Growth & Operations at HireNurture, a talent marketing startup. He is a Venture Partner at Pilot Mountain Ventures and the founder of Startup Rock Climbing, a nation-wide tech community. Tim loves traveling, the Philadelphia Eagles, Yocco’s Hot Dogs, and black labs (and not necessarily in that order).

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