Startup Recruitment: Part 2 - Sourcing top talent
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the different candidate sourcing methods out there and how to use them to your best advantage. We’ll also provide a comprehensive list of some of the best job boards, communities, and platforms to help you find great technical and business talent for your fintech or crypto startup.
Source 1: Get referrals
There’s a reason why companies reward their employees for making referrals. They generate consistently more ROI than any other recruitment method: those who are referred are 4x more likely to get hired than those who don’t. Whether you’re just 2 co-founders or you have a team of 20, it is still worth thinking about referrals.
Encourage referrals from your team
Trying to get candidate referrals as quickly as possible? Set up an internal meeting for team members to come together and refer candidates.
- At the beginning of the meeting describe the role(s) and profile(s) of ideal candidates you’re looking for.
- Throw in some meal vouchers for those attending the meeting to incentivise attendance.
- Ask for everyone to share names, linkedin profiles and contact details of people they think fit the bill in a spreadsheet like this.
- Put some music in the background and get referring.
Want to encourage your team to refer potential candidates whenever a new role comes up? Consider setting up a structured referral program that makes it as easy as possible for the team to refer candidates and rewards them anytime they’ve helped you hire someone. Here’s some resources that go in depth:
- Workable Employee Referral Guide
- Firstbird - Employee Referrals in Recruiting
- Recruitee Guide to Employee Referrals Programs
Encourage referrals from your external network
Let your external network know you’re looking to hire for a specific role(s) and ask them to not only amplify the job roles on their socials but to refer relevant people. Whether it’s your investors, former colleagues, friends in the industry or networks, the more people you ask to refer, the more likely you are to get closer to that ideal candidate.
If your network is not yielding too many leads, consider looking at platforms like TechTree that reward people for referring their network to tech jobs.
Source 2: Use Social Media to amplify your job ads and find candidates
Linkedin, Linkedin, Linkedin.
Linkedin is the only professional social media network in town to have reached critical mass. Recruiters use it all around the world to help them get talent for their companies. It should be your first port of call too when looking for talent.
Share your job roles on your Linkedin personal and business profiles and encourage your team to do the same. Don’t let your job positions languish on your Notion careers’ page.
- Post a job. You can post 1 for free for 30 days. If you want to post more and you want to promote them, Linkedin has a paid per click pricing model. More details on it here.
- Actively search for potential candidates within your connected circles and reach out to them. If you’re using Linkedin’s free tools you can conduct high level searches using 6 filters including job titles, industry, location, current & past employers.
- Example: Looking for a Product Lead? Search for Product Managers, Product Owners, Head of Product who have previously worked at some of the top startups in your region. If you’re looking for more advanced search capabilities consider using Recruiter Lite that gives you 20+ search filters, access to your 3rd degree connections, and 30 inMails per month to message candidates.
Amplify on other social media platforms
Facebook, Twitter, or Titok may have not been designed for recruitment but they’re still great platforms to let people know you’re hiring and share your job openings.
Share job posts on your personal socials and ask your team to do the same. The tech twitter and crypto twitter games are strong - many people have found their next role on the platform. Tweet a role and then share it via DM to your network asking them to retweet and amplify.
- Share job posts on your company socials. You might be using socials to primarily attract customers, but one of your customers may be the perfect candidate for that role you’re hiring for. Have a strong following on Twitter, Facebook, TikTok? Use that to your advantage and let your audience know you’re hiring.
Source 3: Advertise your roles on Job boards
Job boards come in many shapes and sizes. There are generalist boards like Indeed that cater to anyone looking for any job. There are also specialist boards that are industry focused (e.g. Angel list) or focus on a type of job (e.g. We Work Remotely). Generalist boards are all about volume - you’ll get a high number of applications but they might not all be relevant.
If you want to increase the quality of applicants you get, your safest bet is posting your job ad on some generalist job boards and some specialist ones. There has been a rise in specialist job boards with community & industry leaders now using tools like Pallet to create their own. Use that to your advantage.
Set up a budget for how much you’re willing to spend to advertise your job posts on job boards.
- Choose a set of generalist & specialist job boards to advertise your roles on.
- Post your job ads.
How to choose a job board
- Jobseekers Numbers & Demographics. How many job seekers do they have on the platform and who are they? E.g. location, work experience, which sector etc.
- Success rates. How many views and clicks per job will you get on that job board? How many applications on average should one expect per job ad?
- Existing job posts. What other companies are using that job board? Are they well known? How recent are the latest job posts? Do they add new job posts on the platform often? These are all questions to help you determine how active the job board is.
- Traffic: How much traffic does this job board get on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? And what kind of traffic does it get?
- Costs. How expensive is advertising on this job board? Is the ROI enough for this job board? Does it fit your budget?
Source 4: Get your investor to help
Use your investors to help you get the word out there and to help you identify potential leads for your job openings.
Let them know you’re hiring in your investor update and ask them to refer candidates your way
- Ask them to amplify your job posts on their socials
- If they have a job board for their portfolio companies, get in touch to find out how you can post your jobs on it.
Our Job board features the job opportunities available across our portfolio community. If your latest roles are not pulling through or you’d like to make an update to your company or specific roles, please contact our team directly.
Source 5: Leverage online communities
Job boards are great at getting you in front of people who are already actively looking for a job. But what about those who aren’t looking for one but are open to new opportunities if they cross their path? Go find them wherever they hang out, and chances are many of them will be part of communities. The great thing about communities? They allow you to get in touch with a potential pool of candidates in one go. Picture this: you’re looking for an amazing software engineer to join your team. You care about diversity & inclusion and want to encourage women to apply. You might try to reach out to software engineers who happen to be women individually but that will take time. Or you could reach out to a community like Ada’s List that counts 7.5k women in tech in the UK in its membership. How you end up engaging with communities varies, and the ROI is not always immediate - engaging with communities is all about building long term relationships.
How to share your job openings with relevant communities
- Make a list of communities you’re part of. Are you part of a whatsapp group for founders? Or a slack community focused on the tech industry?
- Look for relevant communities. Good places to start looking include Meetup, articles that list the most relevant communities in an ecosystem (e.g. this article on tech communities in Nigeria), and our list where you can filter for communities
- Share your roles with the community. This might be as simple as a message to a facebook group or slack.
- Find out if there are ways to boost your company and that you’re hiring in the community and how much that would cost. Do they have a newsletter where you could place a sponsored job post? Do they have a job board? Would you be able to be a speaker at one of their events about a topic relevant to the community and plug that you’re hiring at the end of it?
2022 has seen a high number of tech layoffs and communities of ex-employees have been formed. These are mainly databases of people who were let go. Layoffs.fyi tracks layoffs in the tech industry (mainly in the US and Europe) and provides links to some of these databases of laid off employees. If there’s no database, reach out to people who worked at those companies on Linkedin.
Source 6: Educational institutions
Looking for primarily junior talent to add to your team? Universities and bootcamps might be the way to go. Many universities actively engage with employers to help their students secure jobs. But keep in mind that most of their graduates will need training as they’re just fresh out of university. Bootcamps also provide junior talent but they take away the headache of training. AltSchool Africa trains talent across Africa in product, engineering and data science so they can hit the ground running when they start their jobs. Jumpstart gives fresh graduates the skills they need to thrive in business roles in UK based startups.
How to engage with universities/bootcamps
- Post your roles on their job boards. Most universities have one, and some bootcamps might have one too.
- Set up a booth at a job fair. If you’re looking to hire a good amount of grad talent, this is one way to get in front of them and boost your employer brand. You’ll most likely have to spend money to get the booth, print flyers and get some company swags for prospective candidates to take with them. Remember that job fairs happen in specific times of the year and those may not coincide with your business needs.
- Reach out to the university/bootcamps to find out if there are other ways to engage with prospective candidates.
Bonus: Job boards, hiring platforms and online communities
Finding the right candidate is a process that requires time, effort, and a strategy to yield the ROI you’re after. Our list includes some of the best job boards, communities and hiring platforms around the world to make it easier to pick the right ones for your startup.
The list is a living document. Feel free to duplicate it and make it your own. And if you end up trying out one of the job boards or hiring platforms, let us know how it goes.
If you want to go deeper on sourcing strategy here are some additional resources:
- The Simple Numbers That Could Change How You Hire | First Round Review
- How to Hire Your First Engineer : YC Startup Library | Y Combinator
The next part of the recruitment playbook tackles the interview process and creating a positive candidate experience. Read: Startup Recruitment: Part 3 - Your hiring process