Team Building

Small But Mighty: Recruiting Top Talent Against Big Competitors

If you think about an industry disruptor like Uber or AirBnb, what their success really boils down to is innovation; and what’s always behind innovation? A human brain. With creativity now taking the lead ahead of productivity in level of importance for recruiters, companies are fighting for the brightest talent. The big guys like Google and Facebook are well aware that recruitment is one of the most important tasks at hand; they know that it pays to invest in talent-seeking. In fact, Google has 1 recruiter for every 58 employees while the industry average is about 1 for every 577. While pumping money into your recruitment process like big companies do may not be feasible for your small startup, this by no means should hold you back from snatching the cream of the crop. As a small team, you have several advantages over the head honchos, believe it or not. Here are some recruting best practices for bringing the sharpest minds on board:

recruiting top talent


1) Company Differentiation

When starting your company, differentiation was the key to success. How would your product stand out on the shelf? What makes your service better than your competitor’s? Having a one-of-a-kind factor would give retailers a reason to sell your product and customers a reason to buy it. Well today, the strategy behind recruiting top talent is not much different than that of acquiring new sales. You need to give prospective employees a reason to buy into the company that goes beyond a good starting salary. How is your company different than the thousands of other ones out there? What does your team value most? Washington Post writer, Josh Howarth, says to “identify the unique ‘personality’ that will make people want to work for you.” This means company culture. Does your team grab lunch together every Wednesday? Are you a humorous bunch? Are you all nerds at heart? Having well-defined company values will not only attract the top talent, but also talent that aligns with your company’s values and will therefore assist in brand development as well.


2) Small but Mighty

Being small in numbers is no disadvantage. When advertising jobs, highlight the slew of benefits that come with working on a small team. One of the most salient advantages is the opportunity to majorly contribute -- to become a huge asset. Young creators are driven by ambition. They want to make a difference. You can provide the opportunity for them to become a bluefin in a pond of guppies whereas in large corporations it’s often difficult to be recognized or sometimes even heard. Working in a small team also means accessibility to top executives. While young innovators have fresh ideas to contribute, your team has experience and wisdom to offer. Working side by side with executives will help new employees feel very connected to the foundation of the company. Finally, smaller companies offer better cohesion and collaboration. Experiencing communication issues or being left out of the loop on company news can be very frustrating. The chances of such things occurring at a small company are much slimmer than those of a larger company. Reducing this sort of frustration also leads to higher employee loyalty and retention. Remember, once you acquire top talent, you want to keep it!


3) Expedience

The recruitment process should be fast. Once you recognize top talent, immediately provide an offer. After applying to a handful of top companies that take weeks, sometimes months, to respond, prospective employees will appreciate a quick response. Let them know that you want them; that you mean business. You know top talent when you see it and you’re not waiting around for anyone better to come. That being said, you must be confident in your ability to identify top prospects. A bad hire can be very costly. Jorgen Sundberg, former recruiter for Social Media London, says “the total cost of recruiting the wrong employee includes hiring, total compensation, eventual severance pay, and other factors like legal fees.” It quickly adds up to a significant number as you can imagine. Until you find the perfect team member that can not only get the job done, but also live and breathe your brand, it’s better to keep the position unfilled to save you from extra costs.

While it’s easy to get discouraged when big names like Apple and Twitter are swooping up talent to grow their mega-brain, remember that in some ways, you have more to offer than those large companies. The key is to stand out, be proactive, and highlight your strengths! Give them something worth talking about.


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Aya Tsuruta

Aya Tsuruta is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly where she covers sales and marketing content through a creative lens. In addition to writing for Repsly, she is a frequent contributor to the music blog, Indie Music Filter, and BC magazine, the Gavel.

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