Best Recruitment Process for Startups

I have been in the startup stage a couple of times. I am a father of two beautiful, if somewhat hyperactive sons, and I have obtained two MBAs. Somehow, during all the wonderful chaos, I was able to formulate a system that helped find the balance between finding a talented person and hiring quick enough for my projected growth. To help you through the storm of hiring the perfect team, we have compiled our tips and tricks for recruitment that we have found to be successful for startup businesses. How do we know? We’ve used most of them ourselves!

What founders are doing wrong

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Not Seeing Recruitment as Sales

Recruitment is one of the three ‘Sales’ jobs that founders have. Many founders recognize the discipline, processes and expertise required in the Revenue generating Sales and Marketing functions. But most founders don’t see Recruitment in the same regard. So to set the record straight, founders have 3 ‘Selling’ jobs:


Get the value proposition and branding right. Go to market, create materials/ads to attract the right prospects. Define a sales and onboarding process, weed out the bad-fit clients. Get really good at closing, scale up.


Make your company sellable. Prepare, pitch and close funding (including Angels, VC, government programs or Bankers).


Create an employer brand, culture and job ads that attract the right talent. Create a hiring plan and candidate experience that ‘sells’, understand what you don’t want to attract and how to identify it. ‘Close the deal’, create a repeatable process. See … it’s just sales!

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Organization Planning

Next big problem: most founders neglect to make a Future State Organization Chart. This will be a vision of what you want your company to look like in a year’s time. Having this visual, concrete aid holds your company accountable for its effort in success and prevents procrastination.

Underestimating the Cost of Getting it Wrong

Another trio of trouble is Time to Hire, Cost of Hiring, and Cost of Turnover. Most companies don’t plan for this when there’s a huge need for a hiring plan as a startup. There isn’t enough time set to find the right person. Which in turn causes employers to feel rushed to make a hire. This can cause companies to pick the wrong person simply out of convenience. Which is more costly due to the extra time it takes to find the right person and the expenses of turnover. To keep an awesome, cohesive team where you can afford to have everyone, you need to have a solid game plan in order.

You Have Options!

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Now that you are a bit wary of what could be going wrong, allow us to put your mind at ease; there are ways to handle potential recruitment issues like a pro!


This is a great way to start building your team, you can be very selective; make sure these people are ready to muscle their way through a startup and be the pillars on which everything will stand. This only works until a certain point though, when you are established you need to move on to a finessed procedure for hiring and you can use your ‘originals’ as the mold!

Get an Admin to do it

This is a modified version of the DIY approach. General admin can take care of some of the basic recruitment functions like posting job ads and screening resumes. It’s good to consider in the early stages, but as you scale, you’ll want to also get help with managing the candidate experience, with interviewing, finding red flags and with closing (see below).

Large Recruitment agencies

These are an option. Though you have to be aware that they will charge a 20-30 percent fee of the employees first annual salary, could be around 30k.

Recruitment consultants and boutique recruitment firms

They focused on start-ups and high growth companies are more likely to help with planning/defining roles, and act more like part of your team. This is where Entreflow’s services fit in – more on our recruitment service for start-ups here.

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Definition of a Successful Recruitment Plan

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You need a system that is transparent. Repeatable, scalable, predictable, and most importantly, AN EVER IMPROVING PROCESS. If you do it right, recruitment can become your secret weapon for growth, a core competency in your business.

Whenever you are looking for a new employee, take the extra time to find the person that makes you really excited to have on your team. Even if it takes a bit longer.  Make sure to keep full transparency with the rest of your team. Talk about the likes and dislikes of applicants, discuss how they would fit in and what their benefits would be. You need to remember that they will be a part of your professional family, and how often do you get to pick your family?

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Secret Sauce

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Your job ad needs to emulate the culture of your company, this will draw in the right people. If you are too vague you will find that you are sifting through applicants that don’t fit in with what you are looking for, take the time to be specific!


Any ad that you provide should have elements that will appeal to the people you are looking for, to achieve this, try and describe the position in a way that when someone looks at it, they go: “That’s me!”. Make them think that this will be the perfect environment and position for them, get this person excited!

Secret Recipe

Your company should have its own Coca Cola Secret Recipe for recruitment. Pinpoint that secret sauce that brings in the stellar team you’ve always wanted, and don’t share it! Our secret sauce comes from our 10+ years experience in digital marketing – it comes down to 3 tricks that help us generate noticeably more qualified applicants than traditional methods.

Involve the Team

Get your other employees involved with ratings and specific questions. This might mean you bring in candidates to meet the current team and then have a discussion afterwards on the collective opinion. If it is for a specific field, have some of the existing members write up some questions that will help narrow down the perfect person for what is already going on in the company.

Close It

Closing, closing, closing! Candidates have other options. Failure to recognize this means you’re likely to invest hours into your perfect candidate only to lose them to a competitor that was better able to present the offer. Most hiring managers bring in 1-3 people per year. Professional recruiters bring in hundreds. Just like top sales reps, they know how to close the deal – and it comes down to navigating the candidates needs, doubts and concerns.

Get out there

Outbound search may seem like a thing of the past, but you can’t hide behind your computer screen. I don’t mean recruiter spam on Linkedin. Look for events happening in your community; job fairs, co-op programs, and conferences where you can physically display your company and speak with candidates face to face. This also takes out some of the guesswork of online first impressions!


Your employees are the building blocks of your company, you can’t skimp on the materials or you will have a weak foundation. Take this guide as an outline and tailor it to fit your needs; create your very own Secret Sauce and watch it skyrocket your success!

Helina Patience, CPA, CMA
Author: Helina Patience, Founder, CPA, CMA, BA (Hons), BEd

Helina is a CPA, CMA with over fifteen years of experience in finance & HR within multinational companies, across many industries. Also the CEO of entreflow consulting group where I help small to medium-sized businesses get organized, grow, and crush their goals. I hold vast global experience after living and working in Australia, India, the UK and Ireland. Connect on LinkedIn.

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