The strategies for finding great candidates varies a lot depending on the size of your company. If you have less than 5 employees, you will be looking for a completely different set of candidates than if your company is 50–100 employees or more. Why? Because the kinds of people who want to work for a high growth, very fluid and autonomous start-up with less than say, 20 employees, will not want to work for a big company that requires a lot of steering.

Those buzz words like autonomy, flexibility, and authority are so woven into the thinking of potential hires at the small stage start-up that it’s no use even talking about it — it’s a given. These people will not respond to job ads. They will be found via word of mouth, trusted referrals, may be graduates right out of school, are at meet-ups, or maybe at tech conferences or code battles. Traditional recruiting firms and job boards will probably not be of any help to you at all.

At an early stage, the only reason why candidates will work for you is the challenge of the work, the vision for the company, and the prospective compensation you offer.

A good recruiter in your area, who does more than just take in resumes and fill positions for corporate clients (the ones who actually give a shit about employee fit) can tell you where these candidates are, if you don’t already know. These recruiters know where the truely skilled candidates are, because they attend all those events, waiting in the wings for when the start-ups and tech companies have had their pick of the best people, hoping to get the few remaining.

At this stage, the only reason why candidates will work for you is the challenge of the work, the vision for the company, and the prospective compensation you offer. The task of finding the right skills for the tasks is entirely up to you as the CEO and/or founder.

500 Start-Ups and AngelList have a job listing for start-ups in the US. This platform attracts candidates who are looking to be a part of the excitement.

Until you have 50+ employees, finding and attracting candidates, doing interviews and assessing skills is 100% the job of the founders because you have the vision and know what needs doing. After about 50 or so employees, the jobs become more diverse and a dedicated HR professional is generally needed to keep the Talent processes on rails.

Author: Jasmine P. Ramratan

Jasmine has over 15 years of human resources and progressive management experience in government and the Department of National Defence. Jasmine is a positive, high energy and gregarious person who enjoys pushing her limits in new and exciting realms. As she transitions to a second career following nearly 15 years of service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, she is seeking new opportunities to exercise her leadership, HR knowledge, and love of public speaking. In her spare time, Jasmine serves on the Board of Directors as the Vice Chairperson for the national charity Courageous Companions which provides service dogs to military veterans and first responders who have physical and/or psychological injuries from their service. This cause is very close to her heart as a military veteran, spouse of an injured veteran and dog lover. She is looking to expand her leadership roles by engaging in opportunities to mentor young human resource professionals to continuously have a positive impact on the industry within Alberta. She firmly believes that philanthropy is one of the most rewarding and personally fulfilling ways to use her talents and has committed to dedicating a portion of her time to these endeavours. Jasmine holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Royal Military College of Canada, and the Certified Professional in Human Resources designation (CPHR) since 2014 and has native language abilities in French and English, and a working knowledge of Spanish and German.