6 Ways to Attract Top Talent as a Small Company

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As with any company, it is very important to Upanup to attract the best and brightest talent that we can afford. Here are the top ways we have found to do it:

1. Pick a Location Where People Want to Work.

We initially set out to find an office that would hold great appeal to those who worked here. This means an office that is in a beautiful part of the city, with quick and easy access to coffee shops, restaurants, downtown, parks, parking and beaches. If a talented person has the choice of working here, or say a tech park in the middle of nowhere, we're probably going to land a point in the plus column.

2. Post Jobs in the Right Places with the Right Words.

We posted almost everywhere for our first handful of hires. We didn't want anybody to miss the opportunity. We wanted to be on the leading industry job boards (like StackOverflow, Techvibes, BC Jobs and VIATeC job board), and although this adds up to quite a bit of money, it is small potatoes compared to how much we'll pay our employees and the difference it will make to have the right people. For future hires we'll be able to get a bit more focused on where we post jobs as we'll have the experience and web stats to show which ones worked the best. In developing the job postings, it is important to make expectations and requirements clear, while at the same time communicating some of the best things about the opportunity - especially those things that larger companies cannot offer.

3. Provide Background on Company Leaders.

Talented people aren't going to throw themselves into an abyss. They need to know who they are getting involved with and what they can expect. With a big company, this isn't such an issue, but as a startup, this meant providing written communication about the background of founders. This also meant making the founder LinkedIn profile public, since many potential applicants will do their own Google search for info. With a public LinkedIn profile, they basically get to see their potential employer's resume, putting them on more equal footing in the process.

We also prepared a question and answer document that we provided to top applicants. This gave them more information and insight than we could make public. All this gives talented people comfort that they are joining an organization that is on the up and up (ahem).

4. Communicate Growth Plans.

I have found that people like to be part of something that is growing. By making growth goals and aspirations clear, we become a more attractive company to those deciding on their future.

5. Setup Technology to be an Advantage.

Starting anew provides a great opportunity to buy the newest hardware and software and have it working together seamlessly at the get go. We have done this using lessons learned from previous companies. We set up our computer systems so they are on the cutting edge. Our team is equipped with MacBook Pros, large monitors, a blazing network that is secure anywhere in our building (including from the Starbucks downstairs), and the latest mobile equipment. Our file servers and web testing server are setup for efficiency and scalability, while protecting us on the data management side. This setup didn't cost us that much, but it is way better than most larger companies could offer, mainly because we had the opportunity to start from scratch.

And of course, this technology needs to be communicated to job applicants. We included some information about it in our job postings, and we also had certain parts of it on display as people came in for interviews.

6. Keep an Open Mind.

Top talent doesn't necessarily fit into the prescribed job descriptions originally envisioned in a business plan. As such, it may be necessary in an interview to get a clear understanding of a person's strengths and weaknesses, and then build a job around that person that will benefit the company the most. -

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We're tremendously happy with the talented individuals we have been fortunate to have join our team. We look forward to building on this success with each of our next rounds of hires.

By Peter Knapp
CEO & Lead Strategist
January 19th, 2012
Disclaimer: Our team members contribute to this blog in their own voices. As such, opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily shared by Upanup. If you are curious or concerned, please contact us.
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