Guest Post: 6 Common Recruiting Mistakes That Can Cost Your Startup Big Bucks

It’s another guest post week here at New Venture Mentor and today we’re going to hear from Kelly Barcelos about the missteps entrepreneurs often make when recruiting their startups’ team members. Since you’re only as good as those you surround yourself with, listen up. Here’s Kelly:

The biggest struggle for any startup owner is hiring top talent in a candidate’s market. And hiring the right people becomes even more crucial when your startup is growing because only your team can turn your startup into a successful venture. Start right by knowing the recruitment blunders most startups make and learn how you can avoid these 6 mistakes:

Rushing Through the Recruitment Process

Startups often work at breakneck speed with flexible methods and agile procedures to achieve rapid results. If the same approach is applied to hiring, it can turn down all your efforts and the time you invested.Being a startup there is little scope for trial and error so take the time needed to identify the right fit. Start with a magnetic job description that evokes a desire to apply and post it on multiple job boards and professional networks to cast a wider net.

Aimlessly rushing into the whole process will not only waste a lot of your time and effort but also lead you into a disorganized sourcing funnel where you will have no clue on how to track your applicants, how to screen your right fit and who to shortlist. You may fail to spot top talent from your pile of applications and miss out on making an offer.

Going Generic instead of Specific

A fast-growing startup is often tempted into hiring that hard to pin down developer who can efficiently execute your vision, guide your team, write great codes and knows how to excite tech evangelists about your product offerings. But it is not often recommended to wait for that star performer to come onboard and set your business soaring.

The right thing to do at this time is to identify, attract and hire talent that specializes in different disciplines so that you can bring them together and build a powerful team. When each is an expert in his/her area and has the technical know-how needed to design and launch a fully loaded, feature-rich product, you can be confident that your company will continue to grow even when the competition gets fierce.

Selling the Job Instead of Your Vision

It is important that your startup team is just as passionate as you are about your disruptive business ideas. If you cannot sell your product or service offerings to your prospective candidates, there are high chances that they will deviate from your vision down the line. Use your initial interview to orient them about how your business idea will disrupt traditional business models and make a difference. Every candidate that you see as a potential hire must be able to see your passion and visualize how your startup will progress further to accomplish your big ideas. If you can sell them your vision, you have sold them the job that has everything they desire –opportunities, challenges and progress. When you give them a sense of purpose and get them in sync with your vision, they are ready to make a career move with you!

Compromising on the Quality of Hires

It is important to validate every single candidate you interview and ensure that they have what you want –whether it is about being a culture fit, having the technical know-how required for the position or having the needed experience. Assess their knowledge, skill-set and capabilities needed to manage their responsibilities whether they are an internal reference or you know them personally. Don’t depend on the resume alone and solicit advice from references. If you would be spending your time and money on training the hire, he/she should understand your culture and have the competence to deliver. As a startup owner or hiring manager, you can’t afford to hire candidates, who are not mentally prepared to work in a fast-growing environment.

Hiring Too Many Too Soon

Know your talent requisition needs well in advance. Do you really need another business development manager, client servicing agent or a developer? If you hire too soon you may not have enough work to allocate and this can leave your hire bored, nudging him to look out for better prospects. If you misjudge your workload and end up hiring too many candidates thinking you won’t be able to fulfill client demands on time, you would end up spending more than you have to; on infrastructure and salaries. If you are not sure about the workload, don’t confine yourself to hiring full-time permanent staff. You can always count on freelancers or temporary contracts and see how much your company really needs over time.

Not Having a Proper Recruitment System in Place

The biggest mistake a startup can make is not having clearly defined hiring policies and a standard recruitment workflow in place. If you plan to go with the flow without a proper framework, you may get confused and your chances of hiring unqualified candidates become high. Replacing a wrong hire can cost you 6 to 9 months of their salary on average. Startup owners need to multitask and so having a well-defined hiring policy and an employee handbook would constantly serve as a reference point that would keep you on the right track from sourcing to onboarding.


Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. When Kelly is not building campaigns, she is busy creating content and preparing PR topics. She started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.


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