Most startups have their backs against the wall when it comes to hiring employees. They don’t have enough money to lure top talent through the salaries which are on offer. Yet, without that talent, entrepreneurs will be hard-pressed to develop an amazing product that customers want to buy.
Fortunately, there is a way around this dilemma that can help you convince the most talented people to give up a bigger, steadier paycheck and join your team.
Here are five strategies you can use to recruit and retain talent when you’re on a tight budget:
1. Grab potential hires ‘emotionally’.
If you hope to lure the best employees, your startup must have a compelling mission and connect with hires ‘emotionally’ so that they are as enthusiastic about your mission as you are. I once hired an MBA who was incredibly talented and an expert in the field of fashion design. Although I offered him half his market rate, he still decided to join the company.
The idea of being close to the founders and significantly contributing and impacting the vision of the business appealed to him. He knew he would be joining and pioneering in the industry offered as it was a more attractive goal than just designing clothes.
If you can convey that your company has a mission that’s more compelling than others in your industry, you will have an easier time hiring top employees.
2. Show them you only hire the finest.
If you want to hire top talent, you absolutely must staff your executive ranks with leaders in the field. The reason for that is very clear. A-players want to work with other A-players.
The best way to hire A-players is to be one yourself. Make sure you can tell compelling stories that show you have superior industry knowledge and a strong vision for your company’s future.
3. Present them with a challenge.
If you are trying to attract the best, there is nothing more appealing than offering a chance to work on the most challenging problems in their field. It costs you nothing to define your venture’s strategy, but top talent will love it.
If you want to make this clear to potential hires, tell them about your customers’ enthusiasm for the way your product solves a big problem that has gone unsolved for years. Highlight the new challenges you plan to tackle and make it clear to them that they have the chance to make a big difference in coming up with that solution.
4. Be clear about the potential for growth.
Prospective hires look at your startup through a lens similar to that of a venture capitalist. The best hires in your field like to support a solid mission and vision, but they also have a mercenary side. So when you’re trying to bring those kingpins to your startup, make it clear that they are going after a big opportunity.
Conveying this message credibly is a challenge for entrepreneurs. Potential employee, not to mention investors, expect you to overestimate the size of the potential opportunity. But, you don’t want to over promise. Be very specific in distinguishing the specific segment of the market that you are targeting.
Recruiting top talent boosts your venture’s odds of success. Without offering big salaries, these four intangibles can make a vital difference to your hiring effectiveness.