Updated: Mar 18
After our recent article on "5 Pointers For Setting Up Your HR", we're going to be exploring where to source candidates and tips on writing your job description. This can be daunting, especially if you’re an early-stage startup hiring for the first time.
There are a number of organisations that will source candidates for a fee and also help you structure your job description. If you're looking for some ideas on how to do it yourself, read on!
Before whacking out your job description, as a startup, you must find talent who can scale with your company. Do not make the mistake of hiring for different positions just for the sake of it - who are you looking for?
Step 1: Structuring your Job Description
Outline your company and vision - What do you do? How do you do it? What are your USPs? Sell yourself!
The Role - Outline what the role involves through a precise list of projects they'll get involved in.
Opportunities for personal development - Outline the opportunities you can offer. You’re trying to recruit talented people who want to gain valuable experience, make sure it sounds exciting!
Role requirements - This is where you get into the detail, highlighting the type of individual you’re seeking out. Academic backgrounds, interpersonal skills, passion for your industry and skill set.
Your application status - Is it still open? When does it close?
Number of opportunities available
Duration, is it open-ended or a fixed-term internship?
Interview process: What will the candidate expect?
Consider the language you use and make it accessible to attract a diverse audience from a multitude of backgrounds. Discuss how you will support your team through these objectives - job descriptions are overwhelming and it can be discouraging when faced with a long intimidating list.
Phrases such as “We will mentor you” and “involve you” will encourage candidates and be a testament to your friendly, team-oriented culture.
Step 2: The Application Form
We created our application on Google Forms. Here, candidates filled out their personal details such as their:
Stage of Education
The role they were applying to
How long they were available to work for
Whether they had the right to work in the UK.
Lastly, they were asked to attach a CV & covering letter
We also included 3 questions relevant to our field of work; applicants who took the time to research gave detailed, well structured and enthusiastic answers, allowing us to weed out the good from the great.
Step 3: Publicise & Share
Now you’ve crafted an exciting opportunity, it’s time to spread the word.
Typically, LinkedIn is a good place to start and can trigger a network effect through word of mouth between networks. We also shared the opportunity through our newsletters which was an easy way for people to forward it on to people they knew. Other free platforms to share your job opportunities include Indeed.com and Glassdoor. Consider targeting those who are likely to already be part of a community; for example, Innovators Room specifically targets people interested in the venture scene. You can also push role opportunities on social media platforms; one in four people use Facebook to search for job listings, and Twitter, though limited in characters, allows you to create a punchy tweet with a call to action and use relevant high performing hashtags.
If you’re looking for a short-term helping hand, it is worth considering offering an internship role. This will engage a young, enthusiastic crowd and offer students a great opportunity to gain more experience in the industry, before considering whether to formally offer a permanent position. We recommend contacting universities and relevant course administration teams who can share the opportunity on their email.
For later-stage companies, there are a wealth of startups disrupting the HR landscape that can help you automate the application process. Taking a data-driven approach to recruitment, MoBerries has a ranking system that pairs companies with applicants. Both iCIMS and MeetFrank use artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning to propose job advertisements catered to candidate needs. iCMS leverages CV data and qualifications to link candidates with best-fit roles, providing unbiased recommendations. MeetFrank is a recruitment app that allows users interested in a position to start an anonymous private chat with the company to find out more about the role.
We’ve attached our new Venture Scout Role & Application Form (open for applications!), and our previous job description:
If you'd like to discuss the article in more detail please contact me, Sophie, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'd be more than happy to chat through it with you.
Upcoming Blog Post - Startups: How to create a successful Hiring Process