The war for talent is on, especially if you are hiring tech talent. For a founder building his or her company, recruiting has to become a pervasive part of your life. Popular VC blogger Mark Suster who has brilliant ideas on recruiting and hiring offers a mantra to startup CEOs that should be branded into your thinking: ABR – Always be recruiting! (See an excellent article by Mark on startup hiring --> here)
When you think of recruiting, think of creating a recruiting culture. Recruiting is a form of marketing. Just as you seek ways to include your marketing message into your communications as often as possible, do the same with your recruiting message. Build recruiting into the fabric of how you do business. To some extent, recruiting is the job of everyone working for a startup.
While I personally rarely use job boards, I understand that you may be forced to resort to posting your jobs. However, in the competitive hiring climate for tech jobs, it is less likely that job boards will produce the candidate you need. You must find other ways to get the word out. Ways that may very well produce better candidates anyway.
Earlier, I said that recruiting is marketing. Well, it is also networking. Use your networks for recruiting. Following are some ways in which you can use your daily social networking activities and even emailing to get the word out that you are hiring:
First of all, you will need to make information about your job openings accessible online. Your blog or the career page on your website are ideal locations. Another option is to use a cloud-based method to share the information (e.g., Google Docs)
Email marketing: Create a short email message to communicate your openings. Just the basics – include a link for those who want more detail. Send this to everyone that might know of someone for these jobs, or know of someone who knows someone. Recruiting requires a multilayered web of contacts – don’t be afraid to use your network. Your email subject line can simply be: “SupremeStartup is hiring!” Even better “SupremeStartup is hiring a UX/UI Designer!”
Twitter: Of course, you will tweet about your job openings. Daily. And so will everyone else in your company. Provide the link to the job information. Every day, mention in some way or another that you are hiring.
Facebook: If your company has a Facebook page, then of course you will post your jobs there. But, also, post on your personal Facebook wall. Don’t underestimate the value of your social circle for recruiting. And need I say it? Your team’s social circle as well. The candidate hired by a client last year was the girlfriend of someone that I haven’t seen or talked to in several years, but he saw the opening on my Wall and passed it along. Yes, I get some hilarious responses and inquiries– especially when my mother decides to “help me out.” But, that’s the price you pay.
LinkedIn Profile: Every person in your company should communicate your job opening(s) as their status update with a link to the job information.
LinkedIn Groups: Actively join groups that your prospective candidates might join and mention your job openings in the “job discussions” section . Have others within your company do the same. These expire every two weeks, so update.
Email signature: Your team's email signature is another way to communicate your job opportunities -- every time you press send. Especially, during times of intensified hiring, include something like “We are hiring!” as part of your email signature with a link to the job information. Ideally, you will mention a specific job or two or three. Just don't make it cumbersome.
Blog: Write a blog post about your job openings. Everyone in the company should tweet about this post (with the link of course) and add this to their Facebook wall and LinkedIn Status updates. Ask people in your network to tweet or retweet your job openings with the appropriate link. Your employees should ask their networks to do the same.
In addition to this specific post, write posts or reblog about topics that your prospective candidates would be interested in. Cross-reference with the blog post about your job openings. Of course, you will once again do all the things mentioned above to continue promoting your blog posts.
Associations and Networking Groups: Many associations (alumni, trade, etc.) and networking groups provide opportunities for members to share information via newsletters, message boards and even alerts and announcements. Some even have free job boards which provide you with a more selective (read: higher quality) response than general boards. For instance, I've made great contacts with marketing executives using MENG. A few years ago, someone I didn't know was forwarded my email about a CFO opening and took the liberty of posting it on FENG -- this generated the candidate who was hired. Use your and your team's and possibly even people in your network's groups and associations to communicate job opportunities offered by your company. Join new groups.
Remember: recruiting is marketing, recruiting is networking. "Always be recruiting." Make recruiting part of your culture.