Companies should never compromise with the talents and qualifications required of their employees. However, talented professionals are becoming a rare commodity in the job market now. How do you plan to win them over to your small company? You probably have already tried campus recruitments, internal job postings, employee-referrals, participating in job fairs, advertising in newspapers and job portals…etc. As a small company, what else can you do?
Let’s see how other startups did it.
When Facebook was young and hunting for talent, says Lee, it combed through Stanford’s syllabi and course catalogs to find relevant students. Facebook was already well-known on campus.
If, for example, Facebook needed engineers, it would search for engineering classes.
Once it found relevant classes, it would find their required reading lists. Zuckerberg and his staff would go to Stanford’s library and put fliers for Facebook positions in those books. When students pulled them down, they’d find what Facebook left behind.
The program, which ran this summer, brought in people with a core aptitude for programming, then spent six weeks “teaching them something to see if we could get them up to a level where we actually might want to hire them,” Bahat says. IGN specifically downplayed the importance of experience and education. “Flipping burgers to scrape together enough cash to buy Portal 2?” read its recruitment ad. “Blow our minds while you’re here and we’ll hire you.”
Rather than spending months searching for a white whale, take those eager, ubiquitous junior developers you’d normally pass over and pair them with your senior developers. In three to six months, Knowles says, they’ll start adding value, and you’ll be able to rotate them out into autonomous roles. Cycle in more junior devs to keep the factory growing.
Zoho identifies promising high-school students whose families can’t afford to send them to college, then trains them itself. The program began six years ago, and about a tenth of Zoho’s 1,400 employees, and 20% of its new engineers, are graduates of it. “It’s not charity,” says Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu. “It works for everybody. We find great employees, and they make us money.”
SMS Country recruits their sales teams on college campuses. They visit a campus to host a company presentation and call for applications. Every attendee is asked to name the eight other people from the class that he or she would want to work with on a sales team. The eight names that get mentioned the most frequently are hired. It’s that simple.
Rather than relying on a 20-minute interview with a stranger, SMS Country leverages the collective knowledge in the two-year “interview” conducted by fellow classmates. Brilliant! But the process doesn’t stop there. The 8-member team elects their own leader as well as finds and establishes their own office in their sales region.
If you know of any other creative hiring methods, feel free to let us know in the comment.