Startup Hiring Starter Pack

We have put together some simple and effective resources for your startup in order to give you a head start when you're about to start hiring your first employees.

Everything on this list is based on our significant experience of helping early stage startups scale their teams and none of the platforms or products that appear here are paid promotions.

We'll continue to add and update this list over time to ensure it doesn't get stale.

Applicant Management

It's entirely possible to manage a small number of applicants and interviews via trello boards or excel spreadsheets but if you plan on hiring more than two or three people over the next twelve months, we categorically recommend investing in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to help you manage everything from initial application through to the job offer.

  • Workable - Hands down the best ATS in terms of ease of use. Workable has one of the most intuitive UI's of all ATS platforms. It also has a surprisingly effective built in 'sourcing' tool that allows you to search for potential candidates. It offers a useful free trial as well as a pay-as-you-go option which is ideal for companies hiring a small number of people.
Workable's wonderfully simple dashboard
  • Greenhouse - Whilst the UI is slightly more complex (and therefore less intuitive) than Workable, Greenhouse's most powerful feature is its enormous reporting tools. If your startup is hiring a large number of people and you want to keep a very close eye on the data and spot potential trends, then Greenhouse is worth a look.
  • Alternative options: Lever, Recruitee, Recruiterbox

Creating Better Job Ads

Despite exhaustive data on what works (posting salary information) and what doesn't (extremely demanding 'requirements'), job ads remain a remarkably subjective topic. One of the biggest (and most common) mistakes companies make is copying other companies job adverts and tweaking the details to suit their own company. Instead, we'll point you to a few resources to help you craft more effective and original job ads.

  • Workable have an exhaustive list of job ad templates that are completely free and a great place to start.
  • Matt Buckland has an outstanding blog post that delves into the psychology behind job adverts and how you can structure yours to be more appealing to potential applicants.
  • Of course, I've also written a few choice words to help you avoid the most common job ad tropes that will hopefully help you understand what your job ad says about you and your company.
  • If hiring people is your full-time job, then investing in Mitch Sullivan's Copywriting for Recruiters course is an absolute must.
  • Kat Matfield has created a wonderful tool that analyses your job ad to ensure that you're not relying on language that's heavily targeted towards one particular gender. Simply copy and paste your advert and get an instant analysis of your job post.
Kat Matfield's Gender Decoder

Advertising Your Vacancy

Your ATS is in place, your job ad is a masterpiece, so where do you advertise it in order to ensure the most applicable candidates see your role?

Naturally, if you're a tech company or a startup, Honest Work is your default option for all your vacancies but there are additional options.

Great for Developers: Stack Careers, GitHub Jobs, Authentic Jobs, Who is Hiring?

Great for Designers: Dribbble Jobs, Design Week, If You Could

Great for Product People: Mind The Product, Product Hunt Jobs

Great for Remote Jobs: We Work Remotely, Working Nomads

Ok but what about LinkedIn? Despite my fervent hatred of LinkedIn, it is still remarkably effective for hiring Project Managers and Business Development people. Just try to avert your eyes from the god awful homepage feed of people posting hot takes about the blockchain and stale Facebook memes.

A typical job ad on Honest Work

Interviewing & On-boarding

I won't go into the depths of how to interview effectively in this post as that warrants a post of its own. Instead, I'll share some resources that should make the process of interviewing people significantly easier.

  • Personably - Arguably one of my favourite productivity tools in recent years. It's far too easy to lose track of the schedule involving hiring a new employee. Start dates, training, probation periods, etc. Personably eliminates all of that pain and creates a wonderful, organised experience for new employees.
  • Calendly - A simple tool that makes scheduling interviews painless. Whilst a lot of ATS platforms have similar features built in, Calendly does one thing and it does it extremely well. Sync your calendar and instantly share yours and your teams availability with potential candidates to prevent lengthy back and forth email chains trying to figure out suitable dates.
  • Onfido - Verifying a persons identity has never been easier. Due diligence is a must if your startup has significant growth plans and verifying identity and documents can be incredibly expensive and time consuming. Onfido takes care of all of that for you.
  • Xref - I've seen countless reference checking tools and platforms try and fail to solve the problem of accurate reference checking over the years yet Xref have continued to absolutely nail the solution. They have an outstanding team and the platform is incredibly simple to use.

What have we missed?

We'll continue to add to this post over time to make it even more useful for companies looking to start growing their teams but if there's a killer tool or platform that has made your life easier and it's not mentioned above, give us a shout on twitter, tell us all about it and we'll add it to the list!

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