9 min read

How can startups handle recruiting challenges? (2020)

10 January 2020

You might have heard the expressions “Survival of the fittest” and “A smooth sea never makes good sailors.”

These are the most fitting statements within the ever expanding world of startups. There are over 150 million startups all around the world with more than 50 million brand new startups launching every year.

This means on average there are 137,000 startups emerging daily, and those are some seriously astronomical numbers.

However, not all of them survive the violent waves of challenges that have transformed the nature of startups in today’s world.

How can startups handle recruiting challenges? How can startups handle recruiting challenges?


You, as a founder, are completely occupied dealing with the changing spectrum of challenges in order to settle your business. It is always going to be difficult for a brand new company to step in and stand out in the marketplace.

There are numerous factors that will affect your startup’s successful launch. Some of those challenges are arranging the workplace, streamlining the process, and let’s not forget, hiring new talent, which is one of the most important factors because the individuals you hire are going to shape the future of your company.

Hiring or recruiting is a risk-based challenge, not just for startups, but also for established businesses because you cannot predict if an individual will be an asset to your company or a liability while hiring. I

f you are looking to hire, then it means you are going in the right direction as there needs to be enough work coming your way which leads to more productivity. However, you need to have strong decision making power and a strong judgmental sense which can work in favor of your company.

The following are the main challenges your startup will face while trying to recruit top talents in the market and how you can overcome them to make it in the world of startups.

9 hiring specific challenges new startups can run into

1. Not having a clearly defined hiring plan and/or strategy

Sure, you might have prepared a list of goals for your startup and how you want to go about achieving them. Maybe you’ve even laid out an intricate plan for that, but that is not the planning we are talking about here.

As you are a brand new company, you will not have any sort of pre-constructed framework and HR policies to follow as established business do. You have to build the HR process and the policies from scratch.

In order to keep the hiring process workflow on the right track, you require a pre-defined strategy and symmetric planning. You need to be careful and not recruit anyone in a panic.

For this you will need to define the hiring plan before you start the process of recruitment. Only then will you be able to hire smartly and according to your company’s requirements. Otherwise, you will be left with different individuals with qualities that are not helping your company in the short term or long term.

For this you will need to define the hiring plan before you start the process of recruitment.

Even if you manage to get brilliant individuals without the HR strategy, the consequences will make the business suffer in the long run. So make sure you give enough time to construct a hiring plan before starting the interviews for the vacant position in your company.

After all, a company with a hiring plan will be more impressive to the candidates applying for the job instead of applying for a company without any sort of a hiring structure. It is going to be difficult convincing top talents to work for a brand new company, and not having a hiring structure will be a big turn off for your potential candidates.

2. Finding like-minded people for your startup

One of the most difficult things to do is find people that have the same vision, ambition, passion, work ethic etc. as yourself.

There are going to be a number of candidates for whatever job you are offering but the only way you can get the most out of them is if you find someone who has similar attributes as yourself.

Individuals who believe in your vision and are going to be loyal to your ideas through the early stages of your startups are extremely hard to find as you will not be able to offer instant gratification because the company will be in its early stages of growing and developing.

It will be hard to find equally motivated individuals who are ready to invest in your idea without receiving a decent amount of financial gains as you are at the beginning of the startup.

Here you can attempt to contact someone you have previously worked with or studied with. If you have worked or studied with someone you can judge their work and already know what kind of person they really are.

Usually, you will find young energy right out of college very useful for your startup as they are full of potential and skill, but will not cost you as much as an experienced candidate.

All you have to do is get them to believe in your idea and watch as the vacancies in your company fill up with young energetic individuals.

3. Using social media to find extraordinary talent

Startups can easily run out of capital, and it can make it very challenging for them to hire a team of HR professionals.

Therefore, using the power of social media in hiring is one of the best ways to minimize additional costs. There are several job-related groups in social media platforms where you post your job post. Create attractive job banners and post in such groups.

4. Having no idea how to actually hire people

The majority of the startups are not going to have the financial backing to fund for an HR department that can deal with proper recruiting, and that is a disadvantage for any startup.

This means you, as the founder, will have to take on most of this burden yourself.




However, you can go down the route of hiring individuals based on recommendations and references, but that will mean you will not have the time to test that individual’s aptitude before making the final decision.

It is proven that hiring individuals purely based on references from personal networks are not going to be sustainable for the startup in the long term.

If you decide to hire someone by reference, when your company grows and requires 5 to 10 new employees, you will not be able to use the same method for new recruits.

This is the reason you need to have a thorough plan on how to recruit, hire, and interview individuals.

However, there is one advantage that startups have over established business -you that you can hire individuals much quicker when compared to established companies who have to go through a proper recruitment model which can take months before finalizing an offer.

You will be able to make the decision faster because you will not be forced to deal with as many procedures and processes. The speed with which you can act is something you should look to take advantage of while recruiting.

You that you can hire individuals much quicker when compared to established companies who have to go through a proper recruitment model which can take months before finalizing an offer.

5. Standing out from the rest of the startup hiring mess

There are a lot of things you can do in order to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Your company can include benefits such as longer holiday time, focus on collaborative work environments, and even include many more benefits and perks.

Even though your startup might not be able to offer big starting salaries, you can, however, choose other ways to offer perks to candidates.

All you need to do is be a bit creative while deciding the incentives for the employees that will attract potential candidates to choose your company over other businesses.

As an example, you can offer a fun work environment with quirky features such as standing desks which can help your startup to attract potential employees.

If you manage to keep your workplace stress free and fun, it will go a long way in keeping everyone at your company, including you, very happy for a long time. Extra-curricular activities, sports, or little celebrations every time you achieve a short-term goal are going to keep everyone happy and fresh.

This will help keep the morale of the employees high and will be a key attraction for potential candidates you are looking to hire as everybody would prefer to have a light environment in his or her workplace which will ultimately help them in being more productive than ever before.

6. Time Shortage, every startup founders second biggest complaint

During the initial stages, your company will have a lot of work pending, and for that reason, you will want to hire as quickly as possible to get that work done, but at the same time, you will have to keep the original goals and quality in mind while you look to hire.

This is the time where you cannot afford any wrong hire or panic hires. The best candidates you will want to hire will have a lot of offers from different companies which means you will have to compete with other companies.

You will need to take this process very seriously and try to anticipate the productivity of the candidates who are available to you, because the first people you hire will play a major role in shaping the future of your company.

A panic hire or a wrong hire is going to cost you, it might not affect your company immediately but in the long run, it will show its side effects.

7. Low Marketing Budget

In a successful startup, marketing campaigns matter a lot. Successful marketing of your company will be the first milestone that you achieve if you manage to spread the word about your company and your startup’s name is the new talk of the town.

You will need a specific strategy to go and spread the word about your company. It is always hard for a new company to hire marketing experts for advertising or an HR department for hiring.

You can start with advertising about your brand new company initially on social media, startup job boards etc. Your marketing campaign will massively help your company in hiring top candidates for the jobs you create.

At the start, funds will be tight and you might not have enough to hire professionals for marketing, we suggest you check out the application CANVA, it is a graphic designing tool and is extremely easy to use. This application can help you create your own advertisements which will help you save a lot of money.

8. Dealing with Low Salaries

Salary is one of the first things that a job seeker will look at wherever he or she decides to join a new company. It is impossible to look for top talented individuals with low salary expectations.

Any business at the start will not be able to offer a huge salary with benefits to the employees because there are a lot of other areas where funding is more important. Thus, you might not be able to offer benefits such as bonuses, a company car, house allowance, etc.




When the HR budget is low you will have to lower your expectations as you will not be able to hire or attract the executive level of candidates right from the beginning.

A possible solution here is to look for decent candidates instead of seasoned professionals and if you are in need of at least one individual of the executive level to help you out with something big where you need someone experienced, you can persuade them with a small partnership in the firm if it is extremely necessary.

9. Lack of Company Reputation

The reputation of the company does count in the hiring process. Available candidates will always look for a reputed company to work for.

Reputation is something which cannot be earned quickly or easily (especially for new startups), it comes with years of good services or products. You can’t expect your company to achieve a great reputation in the market overnight.

Earning a good reputation is a long journey and is something that all businesses thrive to achieve. In the beginning, it is going to be hard to poach candidates who have offers from highly reputed firms to come work for you.

However, if you wish to compete with already established firms, you will have to work harder than them and offer greater quality than them if you want to see your company’s name among the reputed ones, and once you have created a good name for your company in the market, people will be lining up to work for your company.

Hiring in the early stages is going to be a pain, but in the end it’ll be worth it

If there’s one recurring theme here, it’s how important these early hires are going to be for your company.

Some of the most brilliant and successful companies to date were founded by 2 brilliant minds in a garage, so yeah, it’s definitely possible. The main thing to keep in mind, is have a plan, take your time with it, and think about resources, such as social media, that you may have overlooked.

Topics: Startup Tips
Prince Kapoor

Written by Prince Kapoor

Prince Kapoor is seasoned Marketing Analyst and Blogger. With his skills, he has been helping fellow marketers and brands worldwide. 

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