Scott Gerber is the founder of Sizzle It!, a New York-based sizzle reel production company and the Young Entrepreneur Council. He is a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated columnist, angel investor, public speaker and author of the best-selling book Never Get a “Real” Job: How To Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke.
The hardest part of growing a blossoming startup beyond infancy is recruiting talent. The right team can take your venture to new heights whereas the wrong one can push it off a cliff.
Even though we are in a “employer’s” market, traditional recruitment channels, such as recruitment firms, may prove too expensive for fledgling businesses. Startups should consider using social media as a recruitment tool.
When executed properly, social media offers recruiting managers a larger applicant pool, more access to information that will enable them to better pre-screen and filter candidates and, most importantly, a more direct line of communication to the potential hires themselves.
It is important to avoid missteps. Spamming people will get your business nowhere fast. It’s a tricky balancing act but by being respectful, honest and human, your next big hire might just come from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
I asked a group of successful young entrepreneurs about the best ways to use social media to recruit top notch startup talent. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Achieve Expert Status
Use social media to help build a strong brand and then let the top talent come to you. The ideal situation is to have others wanting to work with you, whatever the conditions, so by simply being great at what you do and building your brand around that, you shouldn’t have any trouble drawing in top talent (then make them happy they contacted you!).
2. Tweet with Hashtags
When promoting any new openings at your startup, tweet out with special hashtags for #hiring, #startupjobs and whatever industry or trade you’re hiring from to get the attention of the right candidates.
3. Twitter Is Your Best Friend
Scout for startup talent using Twitter search with hashtags and terms relevant to your industry. Compile a list of potential candidates and evaluate their Twitter activity by looking at their number of followers as well as the quality of their tweets. Use Follower Wonk‘s “Compare whom they follow” to compare candidates with industry leaders and look at shared connections and “Wonk Score”.
4. Pick the Folks You Want
When you’re still early in the startup process, you have to make sure that you’ve got the right team. That means knowing as much as possible before even suggesting that you’re looking … social media makes it easy to find out all sorts of [information].
5. Have a Contest
Choose an important trait you’re looking for and host a contest via social media. Get creative with submissions and guidelines. Share the contest with influencers and hubs and invite them to send talent your way.
6. Get a Referral
Referrals are the lifeblood of many a business. It works the same when it comes to recruitment via social media. Ask your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn contacts for solid leads for the new position in your company. By having someone come pre-qualified, you end up with (usually) a better candidate and someone whom you can trust.
7. Listen, Converse and Engage
Besides LinkedIn being amazing for recruiting startup talent, I’d say monitoring job trends on Twitter and keeping your job board updated is also a great pull strategy. If you have a current job board and are sending your opportunities through your social media channels, then your message will be heard and re-posted in all the right areas.
8. YouTube Your Vision
You have to get people to believe in your story. Especially when you’re in startup mode. So record a short video where you describe your vision, progress and motivations. Help prospective talent connect with your deeper story. What’s the next chapter they can help to create? Share that video across social media.
Image courtesy of Flickr, oooh.oooh
For more Startups coverage:
- Follow Mashable Startups on Twitter
- Become a Fan on Facebook
- Subscribe to the Startups channel
- Download our free apps for Android, Mac, iPhone and iPad