by Philip Acuña
As a start-up, it’s seemingly impossible to compete with the Facebooks and Googles of the world, who can offer six figure salaries to the talented professionals you’d want on your team. Because of that asymmetry, it can often be more important to create novel ways of attracting top talent to a new company, than it is to obtain operational funding.
This poses a massive challenge for any young and innovative tech start-up hoping to build a top-notch team, one that is not only able to get the startup off the ground, but most importantly, lead it to enduring success.
We spoke with some pioneering technology start-up CEOs and ask what their best strategies were for attracting and retaining top talent to their teams. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Sell Your Business.
“Sell your business. If can sell your business effectively to investors, there is no reason why you shouldn´t be equally as passionate, if not more, selling it to potential team members. Top talent can recognize a great thing when they see it and it´s your job as the founder to make sure they see your company in the best light possible from the first encounter to the stock allocation.”
– Peter Ostroske, OFI.com.co
2. Sell Your Vision.
“Attracting superstars to a startup is one of the most challenging aspects of growing a startup. Most founders make the mistake of assuming that top dollar is needed to land top talent when in fact it is completely the opposite. As much as competitive salary is one of the perks, the more important thing is to sell your vision and dream about the future. If they get passionate about the idea and potential, the right person would get invested and would be ready to let go of current comprises for future benefits.”
– Muneeb Mushtaq, AskforTask
3. Offer a Motivational Environment.
“Providing the perfect working conditions is the best way to attract and keep talents in your team. Keep in mind that creative people like to be free and they all do something that they love doing. Therefore create a free, and motivational working environment and this will help you attract the best talents to join your team.”
– John Kagit, Socialeyes
4. Let Them Try The Product.
“Show them how the product works and let them try it. Other than that, having a big fat market opportunity and showing where the company fits, allows the best talent to turn initial interest into a rally cry. The idea that so many tech companies are “changing the world” is laughable. the rest of the sentence is never checked, e.g. changing the world “for better” or “for worse” … that is the question? We perform to focus on transforming an industry from less efficiency to more efficiency and just leave it at that.”
– Tom Triscari, Yieldr
5. Offer More Than Salary.
“Offering more flexibility, outlining rapid career growth opportunities, and moving quickly are a couple techniques that have worked well for ExactDrive. You want to give employees reasons to want to stay, such as like minded teammates, job diversity and the opportunity for them to make a difference.”
– Tim Nichols, ExactDrive
6. Culture is king.
“Just like every individual has a personality, so every company has a culture. What kind of culture do you have? Is it unique? Energizing? Compelling? When you create the right culture, the right people will apply.
These things are impossible to quantify with a dollar amount. However, such intangibles have a huge impact on the level of talent that you’ll be able to attract. When a top-notch candidate looks at your offer, he/she is smart enough to see past the base salary, and recognize the chance of a lifetime to work for an amazing company. You’re offering way more than a job. You’re offering an entire opportunity to shape a career and to form a future. That’s incredible.
Getting the right kind of talent is, first of all, about being the right kind of company. You’ll still have to do some searching and vetting, but it makes the process a whole lot easier if you allow remote working, pay well, offer an opportunity, shape a culture, and defy the ordinary.”
– Shan Sundaram, thundR Inc.
“Employees want to know they have freedom to make a difference using their own specific skill set. Using their talents, we find rewards based on milestones incentivize productivity and success. Gone are the days of the 9-5 approach, employees want to know they have the flexibility to achieve on their own terms. If they achieve, they should be rewarded well to retain talent.”
Robert Sturt, UK MPLS WAN Specialist
Philip Acuña is a journalist and PR strategist based in Medellin, Colombia. He has previously worked for organizations including the California Immigrant Policy Center and Colombia Reports.