Growing Your Startup: Attracting New Talent in a Competitive Market

The thing about being a startup founder is that your business inevitably starts to grow, which means at some point you have to start hiring (or keep hiring) in order to handle your ever-increasing workload and capitalize on new opportunities.

But in competitive markets where there’s a shortage of qualified talent, and where budget constraints make offering a higher salary unrealistic, it takes hard work and creativity to attract qualified candidates.

So how can you recruit the best workers to help your startup grow without breaking the bank? Here are a few creative ways to stand out and become an employer of choice.


Promote Your Startup as a Fun Place to Work

Chances are, you can’t afford to offer potential new employees the highest salary around. So instead of focusing on what you don’t have, leverage what you do have. It’s quite easy – and very affordable – to give your workplace a strong culture where fun is an important priority. While you obviously do need to get work done, promoting your startup as a “work hard, play hard” organization can foster a sense of culture and entice new applicants to join your organization out of a yearning for a community.

A weekly pub night, the occasional weekend paintball match, or even sharing a daily joke in the company Slack channel are all fun activities you can mention in job descriptions to entice new applicants.


Leverage Flexwork Arrangements to Give Employees More Control

Research indicates that job satisfaction is a function of job autonomy – in other words, the more control we feel we have over our working environment, the happier we are at work. Allowing your new hires to work from home a few days a week, or to set their own hours, is a great way to give them a sense of autonomy and boost their level of job satisfaction. If you’re having trouble recruiting for a specific position, try advertising flexwork policies in your job description – having autonomy in the workplace is a powerful thing, and most applicants will forgive a lower starting salary if they’re able to work the hours of their choosing.


Offer Key Hires a Profit-Share Arrangement

Finding key people to join your core team can often be a struggle, especially when you’re looking for people with highly specific skills like the ability to write code in multiple programming languages. For these high-value hires, there’s a lot of money to be had in larger markets. If you’re working on a startup-sized budget, attracting key people with rare skills is going to be difficult.

So instead of competing on salary, offer these hires something that larger employers won’t. A profit-share arrangement can be a great way to recruit key players by offering them greater earning potential than simply a salary. It also allows you to give your new hires a sense of ownership & investment in your company without having to trade away any equity.

Recruiting is hard enough for large businesses – but when you’re a startup and every dollar counts, finding the right people is both essential and challenging. Attracting top talent requires an unconventional approach to work culture and the willingness to think outside the box when it comes to compensation packages. But with the right perks, you can persuade top talent to join your team and become important stakeholders that forever change your business.