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The undiscovered life of the startup talent proposal

The tricks of writing a job proposal, which attracts the right candidate for your startup.

In the last past months, we have had more than 180 job posts here and are fortunate to learn a lot about what makes a good post.  We have seen many different job posts come along and were struck by the fact that many startups did not seem to know how to pitch their company in the way that attracts the right candidates. Over and over again, startups came to us with the same question: “What is the best way to write a job post?”

Here our answer:

1.    Salary is not enough

Big corporates might be of interest to certain people because they offer a high salary and benefits but this is not the case for startups. Don’t get me wrong, a good base salary is very important. Yet people who want to work on a startup, seem to be motivated by other factors….

2.    Sell your dream to the startup talent

Have you ever thought about what your dream is? The vision you have for your startup? If not, then it’s time to think about this question.

How important words such as “efficiency, profit, productivity or value” may seem to be in the business world, they miss the ability to make a human’s heart beat faster. So think about what your vision is. How do you want to change the world to the better with your startup? Include your vision statement (1 or 2 sentences) in your job posting and whenever you talk to potential candidates.

If you need some more input for coming up with your vision statement, then check out this amazing video by Simon Sinek.

3.    Be personal

Meeting many people that want to work in a startup and having read many application emails throughout the last years when working in recruitment, there are some things these applicants really valued: The fact that a startup is not a big company but like a little family. I don’t mean that you should not be professional, but there is still a feeling of a personal touch in the startup.  People do not want to be a number, they want to be seen as a person – it is all about relationships (if you want to learn more on how to make good relationships,  I would like to recommend you a wonderful book by Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People).

What does this mean for your job post? Tell people:

–       Who you are? (your name)

–       What you are doing in the company

–       Add your email and telephone number for any questions

4.    Talk about your team and culture

Very important: Don’t make the mistake of writing rationally about your company and what you are doing – BOOOORRRINNNGG. You are not selling a product when you are making a job post. You are selling YOUR TEAM and your CULTURE! Tell people about that.

  • Who is your team and what are you doing?!
  • Your daily standups, a reading break during the day, one on ones, whatever you have defined as something that makes you work better as a team.
  • Where do you work? What is your office space like?
  • What is a normal day like at your startup?
  • Any cool, special treats in your startup, such as Friday afternoon drinks, free, healthy lunches, Tea Time or free massage by your grandmother?
  • Add anything that pictures the people and atmosphere of your startup – you will be surprised how attractive your offer will sound!

5.    Finally: What is your startup doing and what are the tasks /requirements of your candidate?

Eventually, there is just one rational, boring description – wait, did I say boring? Sorry, I didn’t mean that. Even though you need to pitch your product, your company and explicitly tell about the tasks your candidate will be doing, there is still a way to make that sounds more engaging.

Be as concrete as possible when talking about the tasks and requirements of your candidate (languages, years of experience, education, etc.). This will behave as a filter for the wrong candidate (especially the language and years of experience) so you will have less work reading all the CV’s and cover letters of candidates who are anyways not fitting to your open position.

6.    Last: Use visuals, cool titles/expressions and make it fun

When startups use cool images (especially images representing the team culture), views are a lot higher than just the company logo. Moreover, adding a cool picture representing your uniqueness (what makes you fun guys to work with) doesn’t only help you gain views but at the same time sells your culture. When people see your team or your work environment they will subconsciously know whether they will fit with you.  Imaginative titles (such as: technical ninja…) as well as small jokes are make your offer more attractive to potential candidates… it makes sense right?

We are all only human!

These are our tips to help you make your talent proposition more attractive and get talented candidates who will fit in your startup team. To summarize, our most important point is to not sell a product but demonstrate the uniqueness of your team and culture.

I wish you all the best with getting startup talent! Next time I will give you some tips about where you can post your job position and other channels you can use to find the right candidate.

If you have any questions, feedback or other experiences from your side, send me a message anytime or comment below to share with the world.

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