Takeaways from a Startup Week seminar with Pete Petrella
It’s a sobering statistic that 25% of startups fail because they don’t have a strong team. During NextCorps’ Startup Week earlier this month, Pete Petrella from Viaduct and TalentRise, part of the Aleron Group group of companies, shared tips for early-stage businesses to find and retain the right talent.
“The people you work with are extensions of the company itself. It’s essential to hire team members who will positively represent you and your brand,” said Petrella. “In fact, one of the most important factors when venture capitalists decide to invest is the team a company has in place.”
10 Strategies to Find the Best Talent in a Cash-Strapped Startup Environment
1. Hire when talent is available.
If you know you will have a role to fill in the next few months, start interviewing and connecting now to streamline the process later. Approach talent before you need them.
2. Address holes in your team.
Particularly with startups and small businesses, it’s important to identify where there are gaps and hire to fill them. That includes examining your own role. Are there responsibilities on your plate that don’t align with your strengths?
3. Engage your existing team.
Happy employees are your best ambassadors. Encourage your team members to post positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor, which are often checked by talent doing their research on job opportunities. Your company’s reputation will benefit.
4. Make it easy for candidates to apply.
Did you know that 60% of applicants lose interest and leave during the hiring process? Show up where they’re looking (your postings should be mobile-friendly!), and meet them where they want to meet (messaging apps and texting are fair play today).
5. Allow the candidate to lead the conversation.
When interviewing, take the time to ask a question and then listen. Avoid the temptation to fill silence with more information about your company or the role. Remain objective and focus on behavioral competencies of the applicant relative to the position.
6. Follow up with every applicant.
If there are too many applicants to send personalized rejections to each one, you can use automated responses — but always send something! If the decision has come down to just a few candidates, send personalized responses, or call them to let them know they were not selected. If an interview warrants feedback, provide it. The interview experience is another vital element to a positive brand experience.
7. Assign goals for new employees.
After they begin, your new hire should have clear, specific, realistic goals and expectations that will not only ensure they get the job done but also help them with their professional growth. When appropriate, consider stretch goals.
8. Lead by example.
Your attitude as the team leader affects everyone around you. Be a positive performance role model and you’ll inspire positivity in your team.
9. Money and shares are not the only reasons people take jobs.
Regarding compensation, don’t give away too much equity too soon. The environment, company culture, growth opportunities, and team camaraderie are also important.
10. Learn from your mistakes.
Every startup leader will make a bad hire at some point. Cut your losses as soon as possible and address what went wrong so you don’t repeat hiring mistakes in the future.