The Method Startup

Even though by profession I am a Talent Attraction Consultant, I am also a business owner, Angel Investor, and serial Cofounder.  I understand the difficulties that comes with recruiting your own team.

startup sourcing, early stage sourcing, startup recruiting

It's been said that accountants own taxes are often terrible, a financial advisors portfolio embarrassing, and a Chef's personal diet uneventful.  The same goes for me when hiring my own staff.  Here I am providing razor cutting strategies for global enterprise, executing war for talent competitive intelligence with such speed and accuracy it would make the NSA do a double take...but when I am staffing for my own consultants, project managers, developers, programmers, and all the other support staff that make what I do scalable and possible I am posting on craigslist.  I guess this is as much of a personal manifesto as it is explaining the method. 

The point is for a startup CEO recruiting top or just good talent if fucking hard.  It's unfortunately about to get even harder.  Why?  I firmly believe that soon we will see the rise of mega companies and startups.  What is so profound about that statement? Notice I did not say mid-size.  In the coming years after the glutton of mid-sized companies get snapped up there will be a far gap between companies.  Small companies will not be able to compete with the size, scope, and purchasing power of mega corps and the mega corps will not be able to match the creativity, authenticity, and speed to market of startups who thanks to the combination of private capital, social collaboration tools, and glut ten of talent will be able to form a concept, raise capital, develop a beta, and launch in less then 30 days.... In some cases maybe even 2 or 3.  

So why does this matter for staffing?   Because a great divide is going to occur in talent.  First there will be a preverbal line in the sand between talent.

1) the mega company employee.  These candidates are pro big businesses and the perks that simply can't be duplicated by a startup.  Sure other companies can adopt a free food policy like Google, but you would be hard pressed to find a startup that can match Google's facilities with over 8 chef ran food places...Not to mention the cafe's and other perks like doing your laundry onsite.  There is real value to that.  These employees will be ever mindful of there resume as recruiting tactics become more transparent.  Employees now watch their profiles like they watch their credit.  Making sure they have good tenure, promoted every couple years, and are very careful about lateral moves.  The war for talent in this space is about to get viscous.

2) Hackers.  Code, drink beer, repeat.  Put that in your job description and you will attract a lot of hackers.  What is a hacker? It's the new age of the Entrepreneur.  Often they are programers, designers, or product managers.  They come up with cool tech iterations and applications.  VC's love them because from a business perspective they are teachable.  If you are a startup these are the guys you want. Your IKEA furniture in your not so big office won't scare them off.  They are just fine with red bull and hot pockets as apposed to a gourmet onsite food spot.  Often they will forgo the big base for skin in the game options.  Here is the problem... They also often come with a form of business ADD.  It's extremely difficult to get one to solely dive into your firm...and if they do even harder to keep them.

As a business owner you are thinking I don't really want either candidate.  Yes, I know, that's why I wrote this...there is a way to blur the lines and get the best talent that will stick long term.  I will show you some of the best kept recruiting tricks used by the elite enterprises and executive search firms for years.

Tactical Tip:  When searching for corporate talent focus on volume.  Make sure to get a list of the top 10-50 competitors in the space.  Then use a tool like Linkedin, Twitter Search, or Xing (UK) to find the targets.  Don't call them...don't send them a description...just reach out free hand and introduce yourself.  Then you can naturally take it from there.

When searching for startup guys, they are typically visible in communities.  Check Tumblr or Wordpress for industry related blogs and start participating.  Trust me they are lurking and checking you out before you even see them.