Why it’s time for startups to challenge the tech recruitment status quo

22 September 2021

Periods of significant change provide the opportunity for innovation. The last 18 months certainly have shown a period of great change, in too many ways to count and especially in the world of recruitment. With constant developments in technology and a massive shift in attitudes from both the candidate and employers perspectives, the recruitment landscape is changing rapidly. And with increased competition for the same talent pools, it’s becoming clear that the same recruitment tactics and strategies that have worked in the past are no longer going to cut through the noise. If every business out there is trying to reach tech talent on job boards and LinkedIn, it’s much harder for adverts to stand out, especially for startup businesses who are still making a name for themselves.

However, maybe this presents an opportunity. With a huge shift in attitudes surrounding work and employment, there couldn’t be a better time to challenge the status quo regarding recruitment strategies.

Startup businesses are uniquely positioned to try something new and break the mould when finding and attracting talent. Without established HR teams and protocols in place, startups have agility and flexibility that can be used to their advantage in talent acquisition efforts. Due to the nature of the business, they’re almost expected to try something new. Experimentation and trying something new could really help them to stand out against the crowd of job advertisements being posted every day. Whether it’s experimenting with digital talent attraction campaigns, updating your candidate experience for a virtual world or even using a more data-driven approach to hiring, there are many innovative tactics out there to improve your recruitment strategy for a startup bold enough to try them.

Here are just some reasons why it’s the best time for startups to experiment with their recruitment strategies:

Experimenting is in the nature of startups

Startups are renowned for pushing boundaries and bringing something new to the table. If a startup was doing the same as everyone else, there would be no need for it; it wouldn’t exist. Therefore, if anyone is going to innovate and push the boundaries of recruitment, it’s a startup.

Startups can be agile, respond quickly to trends and are known for being ahead of the curve. Therefore, to simply post a job on a job board feels a bit out of character. To ensure your talent acquisition strategy really reflects your employer brand as a startup, you should be thinking outside of the box and thinking of creative new ways to reach and resonate with tech candidates, especially in such a competitive market. Show off your innovative thinking and entrepreneurial mindset by trialling new candidate experiences and recruitment strategies. If you do, you’re bound to attract like-minded individuals who will thrive in the startup space.

Gain strategic data

The key to excellent recruitment is data, and we don’t only mean AI and algorithms. The amount of data you can gain from experimenting with your recruitment strategy is incredible; you’ll learn more about your candidates, your employer brand and what recruitment marketing tactics work for you than you could have ever expected. All of this data can be used as the foundation for future talent acquisition strategies, whether it’s building a pool of talent or recruiting for a high number of roles in a short space of time. Marketing is an example of an industry that thrives on data and learnings through experimentation; it’s how you expand audiences and reach new customers. By applying the same logic to your startup recruitment strategy from the get-go, you can be years ahead of other HR teams, and your recruitment strategies will be more insightful, innovative and effective.

Stand out from the competition

As we mentioned, competition for tech talent right now is incredibly high. Everyone is looking to hire the same skillsets and individuals, and therefore, as a startup, your lack of reputation could work against you. This is why differentiating yourself in any way possible could help, including in your talent acquisition strategy. Maybe you try to attract talent on TikTok, or perhaps you host a virtual recruitment event to promote your employer brand; any innovative tactic you can think of will help set you apart in the eyes of candidates. Position yourself as a forward-thinking company by creating new and different strategies. Then you should attract equally forward-thinking candidates who can help your startup scale.

Reach larger talent pools

Your startup can reach a much larger talent pool by expanding your horizons and thinking outside of the box when it comes to recruitment. This means you’ll gain a greater number of quality candidates and even improve the potential diversity within your startup. However, if every organisation, tech startup or not, is looking in the same places for talent, soon the pool will run dry. Therefore, by experimenting with various digital attraction campaign strategies and platforms, for example, you’ll be able to expand your reach and find candidates that aren’t yet on the radar of your competition.

You can engage in talent mapping and use data to find candidates. You’ll be able to see areas where these skills are in abundance or companies which you should target in your talent acquisition efforts. You can expand your talent pool intelligently using market data, rather than just advertising a job and waiting for candidates to come to you.

Similarly, you can challenge the status quo when it comes to your ideal criteria. For example, perhaps you have in your mind that your new hires should be educated to a degree level, but what if you looked outside of the graduate talent pool. Think about all the other ways candidates can develop skills like learning on the job or through online courses. In the current climate, these individuals could be just as skilled as university graduates, and your competition may write them off as they don’t match their algorithm or ideal criteria.

Develop future-proof recruitment strategies

If a startup is successful, there’s no doubt that it will be recruiting a large number of roles in the coming years. Therefore, by challenging the status quo now and experimenting with a range of recruitment strategies, you’re sure to find one that works for your business. As attitudes begin to change and we become more accustomed to video interviews, AI automations or other technical developments within the recruitment process, it pays to be ahead of the game. For example, if you can lay out a tried and tested strategy for a virtual recruitment day, it means you can constantly improve your process while other corporations are playing catch up. Candidates will be impressed that you are ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, which can enhance your employer brand in the world of tech recruitment. You can also be one step ahead, ensuring that your recruitment strategies are always cutting edge and future proof.

However, coming up with innovative recruitment strategies isn’t always easy, especially for startup founders who are relatively new to the hiring game. This is where flexible RPO comes in. There’s no shame in outsourcing your recruitment process, and the right RPO provider will work as an extension of your team, helping you to form ground-breaking strategies and utilise the learnings they provide, good or bad. RPO providers know the market, know how to find talent, and, most importantly, get to know your business. They also want to push boundaries and try new things, as this will give them a competitive edge when it comes to future recruitment partnerships. So working with an RPO provider could really help your startup innovate and challenge the status quo when it comes to talent acquisition, helping you stand out and attract a better calibre of candidates.

Uniquely tailored to startups, our flexible approach to RPO allows growing businesses to benefit from a strategic recruitment partner but on a risk-free basis. In addition, our services can be scaled back when necessary so that you’re not tied into a costly contract if hiring demand dies down.

For more information about our agile RPO, contact us.

Talent Works are an RPO provider with offices in Manchester and Northampton, UK and Boston, US. We specialise in building employer brands, directly sourcing candidates and building captivating, insight-driven digital attraction campaigns. Our mission is to help techs startups and scaleups grow by helping them find the right talent.

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