How can you make your startup stand out in an established crowd?

The following is an excerpt from our new eBook “Cooking Up Your Employer Brand: The Startup Edition” – know-how we’ve gained over the years as we’ve worked with some fantastic businesses, large and small, in establishing their employer brand. These are just some of the ways to help a startup stand out.

Trying to make waves online with your job ads as a startup can be difficult when competing against established brands. 

Candidates in the tech industry have reported receiving up to 30 job offers per month through websites such as LinkedIn and GitHub. As a result, candidates can often feel overwhelmed with direct messages and phone calls from recruiters. 

How can you make your startup stand out against the biggest names?

As a startup, you have many advantages over large companies. However, to utilise these to enhance your recruitment efforts, you need to market them effectively. You need to make it clear in both your employer branding and your EVP how these advantages make you a top choice employer.

Creative environment with freedom to innovate

Startups are, inherently, creative environments. They’re risky ventures. They provide a playground for talent to create and explore. Startup culture should promote trial and error practices which give employees the freedom to make mistakes and succeed. 

Large companies, while providing safety and security, cannot offer this level of thrill for their employees. Startups are, as a result, an exciting option for talented innovators who want to be able to use their imagination and put their full skill set to the test.

Grow careers with the company

Where talented people may find job security and longevity with large companies, startups can provide opportunities for rapid career growth and the opportunity to learn by doing. As startups scale quickly, those early hires often fly with the business, providing an opportunity for career growth that would take significantly longer in larger corporations.

As well as this, in a trial and error environment, there is more opportunity to gain knowledge and skills on the go. While large organisations may have the finances to invest in training their staff, startups provide unique opportunities to learn by doing. 

As many people prefer to learn this way, startups can provide opportunities for employees to gain knowledge while furthering their careers.

Provide a stake in the company

Want to provide the ultimate perk that any large organisation will struggle to compete with? Offer your employees shares in your business. 

Where large organisations may win out in talent attraction is their ability to offer the highest salaries. However, many potential employees would turn down a higher salary to own a stake in the next big tech innovation to take the world by storm. Offering employees’ a share in the business, while riskier than accepting a higher salary for the foreseeable, could provide them with the chance of future financial security. 

Employees who own a stake in a company are likely to be more invested in that company’s success, resulting in greater commitment and productivity, as the value of their shares may increase in line with their hard work.  

Your point of difference

Ensure your brand messaging is clear about what sets you apart, and remember, candidates who would rather be a small cog in a large wheel probably aren’t right for your business anyway. However, with the right messaging, you will reach those who are. 

Being visible in the market place is all about emphasising your point of difference. A good place to start is to connect with specialist recruiters who already have an extensive talent pool at their fingertips, and get the word out in your network. 

When reaching out to candidates whose inbox is nearly always full, having one or two mutual contacts can be what makes the difference.

So, refine your message, then start making those connections. 

Download our new eBook here, and discover more about how we’ve helped other startups stand out.