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How Do You Grow A Company and Attract Talent When No One Knows Who You Are?

Starting a company brings with it many challenges such as determining the target market for your service or product as well as garnering the necessary finances you will need to both withstand initial fixed investments and the gap between your initial sales and collection of revenue owed.

Assuming you successfully overcome those challenges and have clients that are interested in your product or service, what is your plan for internal growth and recruitment to keep up with your client demand?  Recruiting for any organization that lacks a household name can be tough enough, so how do you overcome both the lack of a name and an established story?

In my experience of having to attract talent for my current organization and in supporting many start-ups over the years, these are the five areas to immediately address that will allow you to pursue the same level of talent as your competitors.

1.  Develop your target list:

a. Profile – Without getting specific to one position, the type of profile that will best suit your company should be identified.   Examples might be an industry background, experience with a type of product, or a general level of candidate you envision to be successful within the organization.  Taking the time to discuss what is going to be the right profile will save time as well as hopefully prevent the wrong hires.

Something to note – until you have sustained success or public recognition, you may not be able to compete for the talent that would feel more comfortable in an established organization.   This is okay, as this is often not the type of talent needed to get a company out of the initial phases of a start-up.  That isn’t to say there are not exceptions but in general, candidates that have experience in other successful start-ups will be familiar with the pace, variance in day to day roles and lack of formality often found in a start-up.

2.  Establish a presence:

a. Social Media –Website blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Posts (Current roles/current happenings) can all be built with minimal investment.

b. Employee Presence – Speaking engagements and Community involvement whether it is philanthropic or associations that align with your company offerings are great places to start. Recognizing and publicizing employee recognition is also a way to bring attention to your organization in a positive light.

3.  Address the common concerns:

a. The following questions, among others, will be asked by candidates who have no familiarity with your organization and members of your organization:

      • Is there an office?
      • Are there others that work there and if so how many?
      • Are there benefits?
      • Are there clients and if so, who are they?

It is imperative that you have a clear answer to the common candidate questions. If you happen to be in an organization that has not yet had the time or finances to invest in some of the more common items, at minimum you need to be able to give a concise answer on what the plan is to get them.

For example, “Although we do not currently have a 401-k, our plan in 2014 to allot for retirement income is to…”

4.  Develop and document the current story!

a. Focus on the people and past experiences of your team – Yes, getting that first company success to hang your recruiting hat on will have a positive impact! Until then, focus on what you do have, which are people with past experiences and successes. Where are they from? What have they done? What have been the previous successes of companies they have worked at in the past?

For example, “Although our company has only been in business for 3 months, our team is made up of individuals from companies such as… And successes that include…”

b. Be clear on the strategy of the company – What is the offering, who are your targets, what is your plan to get those targets? What is your plan for growth?

5.  Understand and be concise with the highlights for the individual!

a. The Role – How does it fit into the organization? What are the responsibilities? What are the technologies and exposure this individual will get? How will this be a move forward for the individual? What is the progression for career advancement? Note: It is typical that in a start-up that there will be more room for growth. So although you can’t compete with a longer, tenured company’s history, that same company may have a harder time competing with the upward mobility one might find in a smaller company.

b. The Company – What are the current offerings and how will they impact the individual? These could include salary, bonus, and/or stock options. Note: it is always suggested to stay away from promises of owning a yacht or retiring with an island based on stock options.

Be realistic and you will find better trust built with your target candidates. Other company overview items could include policy or general approach toward social collaboration, philanthropic causes, or team/company measurement. As you build your business, regardless of the space you are in, taking the time to think about your message and having a plan for the five steps listed above will give you the opportunity to compete for the candidates you want.

With so many options available when searching for a new career, it’s imperative that candidates leverage external resources to maximize the potential of finding the best fit. At TekStream, we have seasoned career professionals ready to help you find the career of your dreams. Send us a message if you would like to meet your dedicated careers expert by completing the form below. We’ll have an expert contact you immediately.

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