All You Need To Know About Hiring For Hyper-Growth Tech Startups
Hiring top-tier talent is one of the most important elements of the startup puzzle and yet, it is the hardest thing to get right. Technology is advancing at the speed of light with innovations coming out of every corner, but tech startup hiring practices to employ people that actually bring about these innovations are still in the dark ages.
We are talking hyper-growth when tech startups grow faster than the expected industry growth rate.
The World Economic Forum defines hyper-growth as that phase of startup expansion, where a company maintains an average annual growth rate of at least 40% for more than one year—in simpler terms, it means your startup hit the jackpot and joined the elite league of companies whose growth is skyrocketing!
Consequently, you need to quickly scale your workforce to meet those ambitious targets and meet customer demands. Now, in light of the severe talent crunch faced by the tech industry with every organization vying for the same candidates across job roles like software engineering, developing, data science, etc., how do you aim to make your tech startup hiring strategy stand out from the rest?
Read on 🙂
Challenges of hiring for a hyper-growth startup
Tech startup hiring can be something of a ‘Rush Hour’, the movie experience. Your hiring needs are mostly unplanned, a lot of things are happening at once, and not everybody knows what’s happening!
This is underpinned by quite a few technical hiring challenges like:
1. Working at a startup is considered a risk
Studies show 9 out of 10 startups fail. Understandably, tempting talented candidates to apply for open roles at your organization can be difficult. Added incentives like competitive pay, options for flexible working, or company equity might just do the trick in catching the attention of potential candidates—our yearly Developer Survey brought to fore that 68% of experienced developers can be wooed by a good career path and compensation.
2. Your startup is new and doesn’t have a strong employer brand
Growing companies have to compete for top talent with well-established organizations, as they are relatively unknown, and do not have a strong employer brand to fall back on. You have to be extra smart and do more legwork than others to showcase why your company is a great place to work at.
3. Recruiters need to don several hats
The recruiting expertise required when hiring for an entire company is vast and distinct for each job role. Startups have a limited recruiting team; or just you— and the responsibility of hiring for roles ranging from software developers to customer success managers falls on your shoulders. You would have to familiarize yourself with several profiles for these job roles to bridge the knowledge gap to some extent.
4. Hiring fast might kill your workplace culture
The fast-paced nature of a startup leaves little time to invest in building company culture. When you’re growing quickly, outsourcing your hiring needs may seem like a safe bet but the potential hires may not be a good culture fit. The sweet spot to attracting talented candidates is when they can adapt to the hyper-growth nature of your company as well as align well with the team dynamic.
Tech startup hiring tips for the hyper-growth stage
To deal with your hiring woes, you have to be intentional about your recruiting strategy. It may be tempting to “hire fast and fire fast” like plenty of tech companies’ hiring cycles that you come across but that can be hurtful in the long run.
Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur, once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” Finding the right people to join your team is exactly what tech companies are looking for—an uphill climb, indeed.
On that note, here are 5 tech startup hiring tips that can help you attract and retain top talent:
#1 Plan your hiring timeline
When a tech startup is expanding at a rapid rate, it can be easy to overestimate its hiring requirements. To avoid hiring too many people and then having to let go of a large number of them, you have to accurately evaluate the essential manpower your startup needs. Factor in your employee turnover rate too, before fixing on numbers that will form the foundation for your hyper-growth hiring strategy—an important first step.
The next step would be to decide which positions to fill first—for instance, if you plan to increase your revenue targets, you might need marketing folks onboard before hiring for engineering folks. Break down your hiring plan according to each quarter and the goals you need to achieve so you know which to prioritize first.
#2 Calculate your hiring costs
Now you know which positions to hire for and when to fill them. With these numbers in hand, it’s time to flesh out your recruiting budget. Calculate how much it costs to fill each position—the cost-per-hire metric, which takes into account talent acquisition software expenses, recruiters’ salaries, cost of any hiring events conducted, and so on.
Also, keep track of the time-to-hire metric. When you calculate the amount of time it takes to close a single position, you can use these findings to tweak your hiring strategy—to further reduce the time-to-hire ratio.
#3 Create candidate personas that are startup-centric
Candidates working in a startup require a certain set of skills. They need to put in long hours, take on more responsibilities than is the norm, and be open to the pace of a hyper-growth workplace. Take your time, do the research, and understand what each role requires before building candidate personas that suit all your needs. Focus on both hard and soft skills—a balance between technical knowledge and clear communication is the ideal candidate profile.
Also, read: Ultimate Playbook for Better Hiring
#4 Post your jobs in startup-focused communities
Plastering your job postings on all the job boards out there will not attract the relevant candidates and is cost-intensive too. Focus your efforts on communities that are startup-centric. They consist of exactly the types of candidates you need, who are well-versed with the volatile nature of working for a startup. AngelList, VentureLoop, Startupers are a few job boards that you can target to attract the ideal candidates.
#5 Update your recruitment tech stack
Let technology do the heavy lifting for you—especially when you’re hard-pressed for time and need to hire fast. Your recruitment tech stack should consist of the latest online recruitment software like applicant tracking systems, virtual assessment tools, coding interview tools, and chatbots for better candidate experience.
- Applicant tracking systems (ATS) – An ATS helps you cut down your overall time-to-hire for job roles. An added benefit is it enables you to create and nurture a pool of passive candidates that you can call upon in the future—a useful feature when you need to close a role quickly. An ATS can be a simple tool that maintains a digital repository of candidate data to quite complex with various approval levels and AI-enhanced searches.
- Virtual assessment tools – Recruitment screening software like pre-employment assessment tests are a godsend for recruiters. You do not have to pour over thousands of resumes manually; instead, test your candidates for skills. A live coding assessment tool like HackerEarth Assessments helps you with an objective evaluation of each candidate, provides detailed reports, and instant feedback—all with minimal technical know-how!
- Coding interview tools – The same developer survey showed that 40% of developers preferred to be interviewed on intelligent interview tools that are in-built with code editors and video conferencing. For a fair and objective evaluation of the devs, coding interview tools like FaceCode are the best choice. FaceCode allows you to invite and conduct bias-free coding interviews on a collaborative, real-time code editor that also automates your interview summaries.
Also, read: How Your Tech Stack Can Help You Hire Top Talent
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