Inside the recruitment challenge for startups

Inside the recruitment challenge for startups

David Ryan from Tech Tidal caught up with Mitchellake’s own Kyle McGinty to gain some early insights and experience on recruiting for startups. With Mitchellake specialising in the startup space, covering Australia’s east coast, and even out to Silicon Valley, Kyle has some key insights into this area.

This is what Kyle had to say…

WHAT SHOULD STARTUPS AND SCALING TECH COMPANIES CONSIDER WHEN IT COMES TO HIRING TALENT?

As a founder they say your first ten hires are the most important you will ever make. You are forming a partnership and those first hires are almost like a marriage, so you’re looking to really align your core desires, passion and vision for the future.

These first hires will essentially set the company culture and it is imperative that these individuals provide the right foundation for future success and growth as well as care about the space and the problems your business is looking to solve.

For a founder, particularly in those early periods the pressure between growth and hiring the right talent is very tricky, and the cost and time lost in getting it wrong is a driving factor in your success or not. If you have perhaps hired a person which is toxic to the environment/culture you have to let them go immediately but cautiously.

Taking more time and doing your due diligence up front will ultimately save you a lot of time, money, pain and suffering later. As a founder or hiring manager it is critical to take the time define the role, visualise the characteristics of the ideal candidate and make sure you collaborate with your relevant stakeholders throughout your hiring process.

ARE THERE ANY HACKS TO HELP SOURCING CANDIDATES FOR YOUR STARTUP?

Be careful of saving time and cost by hiring friends, family and past colleagues, as you need to take a hard look at whether they’re at all close to being as invested in your company and future success as you are.

If your only method to find candidates is by using job boards then you are clearly missing out on where the action is. Advertising on job boards alone wouldn’t solve your sourcing problems.

If you are occasionally tweeting about your jobs, you are not really getting the full benefit of a social media strategy for recruiting. The fact is, if you’re not using a multi-channel approach in your recruiting strategy, your recruiting activity is limited in its scope and just doesn’t have the thrust behind it to reach the kind of candidates you ideally want on your team.

Sometimes, startup recruiting means getting a little creative, particularly if you don’t have the resources or finances to execute a broad-scale recruiting campaign.

WHEN DOES A STARTUP NEED TO CONSIDER ENGAGING A RECRUITMENT CONSULTANCY?

Fundamentally recruitment is a strategic business activity and building the right workforce is going to drive competitive advantage for your business. There are no hard and fast rules of when you should identify and bring in a recruitment partner, but commercially if you can identify the ROI with your staff selection then perhaps engaging a recruitment partner will drive a stronger opportunity to secure that ROI.

Engaging an external recruitment agency can be seen as both an exercise in risk management as well as a cost effective investment in finding the best talent for the role. There are a range of reasons to engage the services of a reputable external recruitment company and a few of them include:-

Risk Mitigation – Provides further due diligence on the market and peace of mind that you are selecting the best possible individual for the vacant role.
Identify / Source / Attract Talent – with multi-channel approach’s it will broaden your talent net to include those superior performers you ideally want to attract.
Expertise – Recruitment is not your specialisation, you have a business to evolve, so why would you not build a relationship and place some trust in a Recruitment Partner at a commercially viable time.
Responsiveness – Fundamentally the right recruitment partner’s ability to identify, source, attract and validate candidates is a fraction of the time it would take you the client. They would ideally have existing relationships and current dialogue within the talent pools you are seeking to recruit into.
Advocate – As you evolve your business you are building an employment brand and any reputable recruiter can be a constant advocate of your brand which can be extremely powerful for your future growth. How they represent your business & the opportunity to prospective candidates is often the difference between obtaining the interest of the superior performers in the market and the average performers.

OUTSIDE OF TECHNICAL TALENT, WHAT SHOULD A STARTUP LOOK FOR WHEN ON BOARDING A SALES TEAM?

A poor sales hire will likely cost you for six to twelve months. The first sales hire should be at foremost a listener first, and you need them to go out there and validate your idea with potential customers and gather market information.

They need intellectual horse power, technical aptitude and reasonable product marketing knowledge so they can understand business value and technology – someone who can test positioning and understands what a product can do with a particular customer is critical. Culturally they should have some startup experience, and perhaps these attributes:

Communicate with clarity and openness
Have a genuine passion for customer success
Creativity to help tailor your go-to-market strategy
Someone that will just get in the boat and row with you
Tenacity to rattle the market to get the attention you deserve

HOW DOES BRISBANE COMPARE TO OTHER STARTUP MARKETS?

Some fairly obvious insights but from my perspective the rise and rise of the startup ecosystems across Australia is having a strong impact on the availability of progressive software engineers that have some level of creative and commercial flair to their skillsets. So particularly around the dynamic programming languages like Ruby, Python, Groovy, etc the demand is growing far beyond the availability in the Australian marketplace.

The other area driving huge demand is the DevOps arena. It is reshaping Enterprise IT. It’s a current buzzword that may well fade away but the collaboration between development and operations is here to stay.

In Brisbane, the startup eco system is still immature, and there are a very few successful entrepreneurs that have been involved in multiple startup ventures. So at that Executive & Co-Founder type level with proven success I can see that it’s a challenge for the ongoing development of entrepreneur landscape in South East Queensland.

Kyle McGinty on LinkedIn.