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When it comes to talent, startups face a daunting task when it comes to competing with large companies. Alex Turnbull, CEO of Groove, the startup software company, discovered last year that an engineering candidate was also considering Google, and thought he was convicted. His first thought? It would be impossible to offer a competitive salary and benefits, let alone the prestige of working for the largest technology brand.
“While I offered very competitive salaries in our market, I could in no way compete with what Google could offer the best engineers. And so, as that same prospect explained to me a week later, he would take their offer higher. “
For most startups, the expression “talent acquisition” is not used daily, but it is part of their universe, whether they like it or not. And while engineering is the most obvious example both in start-up startups and established technology companies like Facebook, Apple or Google, finding and recruiting talented candidates is also a challenge in other areas.
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However, not all of this is bad news for startups. Call it being skinny, call it to take advantage of David vs. Goliath Syndrome – there are built-in benefits that big companies just can’t offer. Here are some things to consider when competing with the giants.
1. The best candidate wants to learn and have an impact on the results.
By far the greatest attraction for great talent is the ability to learn at a rapid pace. Many candidates, especially those at the start of their careers, are looking for an environment where they can really dive in and develop their skills. As NerdWallet founder Jake Gibson points out, employees of a startup often gain more responsibility and more experience than they can in a large company.
When you work with a startup, time is short and resources are usually limited. As such, you have to do everything, and if you don’t know what to do, you have to understand it. This type of environment is attractive to many candidates and offers them great opportunities to learn. This is particularly interesting for many millennials and Z generations who value continuous feedback and improvement.
2. Less is more.
Working for a startup means that when you have a new idea, you start as small as possible, build intelligently, test your concept, and then evolve it once you have proof that it works. This continuous feedback loop is part of what draws people to startups in the first place. Engineering talent, for example, generally likes problem solving. That’s why they entered the field in the first place.
Managing bureaucracy, paperwork, and having to justify budgets is much less attractive, and it’s an integrated benefit for most startups. If you want to test something, go for it. Once you want it to go into production and production, or grow on a larger scale, you present data and present your views to the team.
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3. Great talents know there are compromises, so be clear about what you think they are.
One of the things that startups often overlook is that it is not a zero-sum game. For talented engineers, marketers, designers and others who are in the early stages of their careers, there is a clear calculation to be made. Putting Google or Facebook on your CV can be a strong signal for your career prospects, but it does not automatically increase your skills or ensure a successful career.
Even a former googler highlighted this dynamic via an article in Business Insider last year: gaining experience in a startup can lead to a stronger, longer career in a later established business.
4. Job applicants will search for you – make it easy for them.
The final, and perhaps most important, advantage is that in terms of brand awareness, you may not be able to compete with Google, but you can allow them to learn more about your business and the type of work they can experience and their skills. they can expect to acquire.
Doing things like encouraging your most excited employees to provide online company reviews and short testimonials about what they are learning now can go a long way. Whenever possible, be sure to tell potential candidates what you believe in and what they will have the opportunity to work on. This will help attract and retain not only talent, but also the right talent for your business.
While there are a variety of approaches for a startup to do this, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example than the Turnbull blog mentioned at the start of this article. Over the past two years, he has constantly shared the culture and learnings of his company and presented the daily activities of Groove. And it pays. In the past two years, he has attracted and hired excellent talent and continues to attract excellent candidates by writing about what he and his team believe in.
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