Recruiting like it’s 1999 – party’s over, time to upgrade

I recently met the CEO of a well-funded startup based in Washington D.C. This guy was giving me the scoop on his company (a SaaS product that I would guess many in the DC startup scene would know of). He went on about how innovative they are.  Usually when someone tells me how innovative their company is my eyes glaze over. And I slip into a nice daydream.  But as our discussion continued, I started to agree (in my mind) that his product actually is pretty unique. And I wondered how he does his recruiting.

At some point during our discussion the conversation turned to that topic.  I asked this CEO how he recruited new employees and he proceeded to list the following websites: SimplyHired, Indeed, Craigslist, and Washington Post.  My jaw almost hit the floor.  In my brain I thought to myself: this guy is developing an amazingly innovative piece of software, but he’s using recruiting practices that were hot in 1999. These days there are so many ways to be creative and innovative when recruiting new talent. Using niche job boards, developing referral programs, liaising with Dev programs, sponsoring/attending events, and holding contests are just a few things that come to mind.  The best way to find employees who want to help you innovate is to search for them with innovative recruitment methods.  Sure you can find some good candidates on regular job boards, but that’s the exception not the rule.

I encourage startup executives and tacticians to think creatively. Find new and exciting ways to tell their story to the right people.  Doing this will connect you with candidates you’d never find on the traditional job boards.  And if you are the individual who is described above, please don’t be upset that I shared your story. I’m looking forward to helping you with your recruitment strategy very soon!

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