Category Archives: Hiring

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8 Low-Cost Perks That Attract and Keep Great Employees

A good perk can make your company stand out in a sea of job descriptions and motivate existing workers to stay on board longer.

Perks are well known to lift workers’ happiness and comfort levels. Of course, you needn’t offer the legendary perks that Google does like free food, workout classes and access to trained massage therapists to compete in the job market.

Here are 8 perks that provide value without breaking the bank.

Lifestyle perks

1. Flexible work hours.
Giving employees have a say in when they work doesn’t cost a thing and lets them feel empowered. Plus, it’s a fantastic perk for parents or students who are juggling school and schedules. Options include a compressed schedule (four ten-hour days) or the chance to work remotely.

2. A relaxed dress code.
Again, here’s a perk that takes nothing away from the bottom line and is something that most employees will appreciate. You could start with the typical “casual Friday” or let workers dress down on a day they aren’t scheduled to spend any time with clients.

3. Become a dog-friendly office.
Employees in dog-friendly offices collaborate more, are less stressed, happier to work overtime, and less likely to skip work according to a study by Central Michigan University. Of course, transitioning to a dog-friendly space is a big undertaking that requires some prep work. Start off by forming a dog committee of both owners and non-owners. The Bark published a great how-to on getting started.

Financial perks

4. Help repay student loans.
Startups and small businesses often attract young workers, many of whom are just out of school. Considering that many bachelor-level graduates leave school with hefty student loan debt, this is a serious recruitment and retention tool. The best way to get this done is through a service like Tuition.io, Gradifi or EdAssist. These companies acquire funds from you (say, $1,000 per year) and then apply it to various student loan services, on behalf of employees.

5. A commuter stipend.
If your company is in a large city, consider a small monthly bonus to help with commuter expenses. This could include Lyft or Uber rides as well as public transit.

Workplace perks

6. A welcome kit of branded swag.
Put together a welcome package including a branded water bottle, notebook, and a hoodie or T-shirt. It’s a small, effective way to say “Welcome to the team.” You’ll likely see the hoodies or shirts around the office on casual Friday.

7. In-house activities.
I once worked for a small company that had monthly, in-office activities that occurred after hours. One month it was board game night. The next month it was whiskey tasting. This is a great way to build cohesive, bonded work culture.

8. Offer food.
Large companies offer employees no-cost vending machines and 24-hour access to prepared hot meals. You can do this on a much smaller scale by stocking up on bulk items and keeping containers in break areas full of pretzels or granola bars, with free drinks in the fridge.

Perks are just the icing on top of a great job

Of course, you don’t have to match the big companies to create perks that attract and retain great workers. After all, working for a small company is already rewarding for the type of worker who likes to be hands-on and influence the direction of a growing enterprise.

But even as a small company, it pays to show workers and potential hires that you take their happiness seriously. While pay, location and hours help applicants choose a job, on-the-job perks give them a reason to stay longer once hired.


Start you candidate search with Authentic Jobs.

8 Places to Find the Best Candidates

8 Places to Find the Best Candidates

It’s not easy to find the right people. Sometimes it can take months or even years to get it right.

But knowing the right places to look is half the battle. Below are eight ways to find the best startup talent through LinkedIn, universities, personal networks, and external services.

LinkedIn

Advanced Search Functionality
LinkedIn provides advanced search functions to help you narrow in on exactly what it is you’re looking for. This is a great way to weed out candidates, review their resumes before even reaching out, and get a feel for them based on their own words and their colleagues’ recommendations.

You can filter by 1st, 2nd, or 3rd connections, keywords, locations, current & past companies, industries, languages, interests, and schools with the free version. If you want to be crafty, start by looking up the employees of a competitor that you know is struggling, boring, or can’t offer the same perks as your startup. Connect and reach out on the platform to start the recruiting process.

If you upgrade to a Sales or Hiring plan, you can unlock additional filters like job function and years of experience.

Targeting Groups
Joining groups on LinkedIn is a popular way to stay up-to-date with industry trends and discuss challenges with peers in the same field. Monitoring these groups is also a great place to find talented new hires for your startup.

Join groups focused on finding employment in certain fields or general industry groups that dive into specific topics. These groups require a bit more digging as not all will be looking for work or the type of candidate you need, but it’s a great way to find hidden superstars passionate about what they do.
Try to stick with local groups if you need someone who can work from an office. If you’re open to remote workers, try .Net Developers or Designers Talk.

Post-Secondary Programs

Joint Work Programs
Co-op programs are a classic startup go-to for finding talent and, let’s be frank—cheap labour. These programs are more affordable than hiring because the school helps compensate the students, and you get employees who are learning up-to-date material. You can connect with universities, colleges, and even high schools to coordinate co-op students for your startup.

Some universities also offer a work placement system, which is similar to co-ops but structurally different. Usually, the school agrees to help fund their pay if you teach them specific skills that they may not be learning in their program. For example, employers would agree to teach students two new coding languages while at the startup. In these programs, employees often continue working for you after their co-op period is done, making them a more permanent hiring solution.

Internships
Similar to co-op programs, internships connect you with fresh talent. They open up the door to students who may not be part of a formal co-op program as well as new graduates or self-taught, talented individuals who chose not to pursue post-secondary education. Internships can be more difficult because they lack financial support from a third-party, but they can find you the best talent in town before competitors are even aware of their existence. Consider paying interns for the work they put in or you may burn bridges with irreplaceable individuals.

Networking

Personal
Keeping work and personal lives entirely separate is no longer a necessity. Turning to your personal network can be the best way to find the talent you need for a startup. Posting on your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter can be a great way to find informal recommendations from friends or to even discover that your connections have the skills you’re hunting for. Everyone has at least one talented friend looking for work, so don’t be shy about reaching out.

Employee
If you have a strong team you believe in, chances are you can trust their recommendations. Ask your current employees to put out some feelers within their own communities. If they’re currently in school, recently graduated, or active in the industry, there’s a higher chance of them finding the relevant talent you need. You can also offer incentives for employees depending on your budget: some companies like to offer a $1,000 bonus if an employee finds the next new hire, while others may just treat them to a beer or Starbucks gift card for helping out.

Hiring Services

Recruiters
While there’s not much originality to this route, it can often turn out results. Working with recruiters allows you to focus on the work at hand while they push through the new hire research for you. Instead of starting from scratch, you only meet with the best candidates.

The downfall? Recruiters will never know your startup as well as you do. You can let them know what you’re looking for, but they may skip on someone with potential because they won’t have the same gut feeling you can provide in the job search.

Job Boards
Job boards are a great way to get your open positions out into the world. Websites like Indeed will get you lots of applications, but putting resources into a paid job board can step up the quality of the applicants and make your search less stressful.

Different job boards offer different opportunities. Remote OK is exclusive to remote jobs, Unicorn Hunt specializes in UK startups, while Authentic Jobs (that’s us!) supports the full gambit of web creator jobs in remote and traditional environments.

Test and combine approaches for the best results

There’s always going to be trial and error in the job search. After hiring a few employees, you’ll quickly figure out which channels work best for you. It’s normal to find that certain roles do better with one method of hiring, so don’t hesitate to try out different approaches to see what sticks.

Hiring can be a daunting, time intensive process. But taking the time to build the right team for your startup will be invaluable down the road.


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3 Things to Consider Before You Hire

3 Things to Consider Before You Hire

Hiring is a big decision. Whether it’s your first hire or your fiftieth, the process rarely gets easier.

Knowing when to hire is the first step in getting recruitment right. Budgets, workload, and growth goals have to align to welcome a new team member full-time, but missing one of the three can lead to layoffs and burned bridges.

Below are three ways to tell if it’s a good time to bring on a new team member or if a short-term fix is needed.

Planning workload

Before even considering a hire, founders and leads need to think about a new employee’s role and what responsibilities they would have at the company. Asking the right questions at the start can help teams decide if a contractor or freelancer is a better fit. Here are just a few examples:

    • How much overtime do current full-time employees clock?
    • Does the task lie within the startup’s core competency?
    • How time sensitive is the task?
    • After this task is completed, what will the hire do?

These questions will quickly reveal if a startup just needs an extra pair of hands for now or if they’re ready to welcome someone over the long-term. It’s best that full-time hires are brought on because your current team is working loads of overtime or because you need help with a long-term project.

Freelancers tend to be best for specific, time-sensitive jobs that sit outside of the startup’s core product or structure. Bringing on a contractor fills needs for a longer time period at a set weekly or monthly rate. Both freelancers and contractors are great for side projects that don’t necessarily affect the organization’s core competency, but probably shouldn’t be brought on to build new products.

Money Matters

Figuring out how much to spend on a new hire is just one component of a complex process. While full-time employees receive a fixed salary there are also benefits, medical, and vacation or sick days to consider. Before writing a job description, make sure a new hire fits within your financial goals over the next few years.

On the other hand, freelancers come with fewer stipulations but higher hourly rates. Contractors might offer lower rates than freelancers in exchange for consistent work for a set period of time.

Keep in mind that the billable hours needed to get freelancers or contractors up to speed are basically lost time and money once that person moves on. Staying on the same page is also difficult, even with weakly check-ins and daily communication. And it will be harder to negotiate a lower rate in exchange for equity with these folks, unlike full-time hires.

If you’re still on the fence, Toptal has an excellent salaried hire vs. freelance rate calculator.

Growth

Hiring is the best signal to the outside world that a startup is thriving and growing financially.

But keep in mind that your prospects and continued growth hinge on hiring decisions made throughout the company’s life. That initial $500,000 of venture capital isn’t necessarily a sign to scale up. Often, it’s a way of testing whether a startup and its management are capable of guiding an organization’s growth.

Don’t feel like you need to grow simply because money is coming in from sales or investment. Set long-term goals and benchmarks with engineering and product leads to see if and when an extra staff member will be needed. Then, check in with sales to make sure you have the cash to support them over a long period of time.

Hiring is a sign of a thriving startup. Firing and layoffs spell doom to investors.

Hiring is a Big Step

Hiring is a magical opportunity for companies. It’s awesome to know that people want to contribute to your idea, and that you’re helping people feed their families and plan for their futures. But making a full-time hire is a huge responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Before bringing someone on, think about your plans for the role and other ways you could complete planned tasks. Putting in work at the outset will lead to less heartache down the line.

Nobody Applied to Your Job Posting: What Do You Do Now?

Nobody Applied to Your Job Posting: What Do You Do Now?

Sometimes you put a job description on your website and take it down the next day because you’ve already found the perfect fit. Other times, it’s not so easy. It can be weeks, months, and sometimes even more than a year without finding someone that fits the bill.

If you’ve gone through the motions but haven’t found the right fit, try these 8 tips to reignite the posting.

Dive into your organization

1. Take advantage of skilled individuals
Having a single person running multiple jobs isn’t ideal, but it’s a very realistic side of startup culture. Explore your employees’ skillsets to see if there’s a way you can fill your gap internally, if even temporarily. This will help buy you time to continue your search for the right fit, and not just the fastest hire.

2. Offer training to existing employees
While you may be lucky enough to have an employee who’s fully stacked for two roles, some may be familiar with the role but need some help along the way. Offering training for existing employees that have an interest in the role or some starting skills is one way to fill the gap either temporarily or permanently.

3. Shift roles to open up an “easier-to-hire” role
If you’re looking for a senior product manager, re-evaluate your existing product managers and consider promoting from within. You can still look to hire, but you’d be aiming to fill a more junior position, which can open up the applicants and help you find someone who fits your company with less experience.

If you have a front-end developer that excels at back-end (which you’re hiring for), shift them into the role instead and try to hire a front-end developer to get a fresh batch of potential candidates. Have a developer who can design? Switch your search from a designer to a developer and see how your luck changes.

Broaden your search

4. Re-evaluate your job posting
It’s tempting to really narrow in on what it is you’re looking for in an applicant, but sometimes getting too specific can ruin your chances of finding the right person. If you’re not getting any leads, re-evaluate your job posting. See if you can be more lenient on years of experience, reduce the number of specific applications you’ve listed, or expand the geographic region of your search. You can also try adding key information like salary or benefits to attract more candidates.

5. Consider remote talent
Having someone in office certainly has its benefits, but it’s not the only way to go. Opening up your search to include remote workers means you can now search on a global level. You can start by sticking to a similar time zone to avoid future challenges, but explore the option of a worker who can work from home and call in when needed. This opens up the quantity of applicants you’ll find, and often the quality you can consider as well.

6. Blast your network
If you haven’t done so already, get your job posting in front of anyone and everyone you can. Go old school and use word of mouth to find friends of friends who are looking for work. Explore your connections at similar companies to see if anyone is unhappy and looking for a switch. Get your employees to spread the word to their network and you’ll be reaching more candidates in no time. Don’t be afraid to use all your social networks and reach out to specific friends who tend to be well connected.

Look into third-party services

7. Job boards
Listing your job posting on your website isn’t going to cut it, so most turn to free general posting services. These are great for a high volume of candidates, but it may leave you with no real leads. Try exploring paid job boards to find more serious applicants targeted towards your industry or role.

8. Recruiters
Recruiters can feel like a frivolous expense, but they can be a great option if the well seems to have run dry. Recruiters are connected to several different networks and can take care of some of the dirty work for you to narrow your candidates and find the best leads. You can find recruiters with experience specific to the role you need or ones who take a wider approach to present you with a bigger pool of options.

Keep your head up

Running out of strong candidates can be discouraging, but it doesn’t mean you’ll never find your perfect match. Try revisiting these places to find talent and the tips in this article, and you’ll be surprised by the changes in applicants.


Start you candidate search with Authentic Jobs.

6 Steps to Take to Reduce Bias in Hiring

6 Steps to Take to Reduce Bias in Hiring

It’s no secret that many tech startups tend to struggle with diversity.

A quick scroll through the “Meet the Team” section of most young companies will often reveal a bunch of smiling, similar looking male faces, with maybe a few women, people of colour, and/or differently abled people here and there.

A big reason for this is unconscious bias, or the idea that our cultural experience can affect our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Even founders with the best of intentions regarding diversity and inclusion can still fall victim to it.

Countless studies show that bias affects hiring a lot. For instance, if you’re a woman, or have an ethnic sounding name, or wear a religious headscarf, there is academic evidence that shows you will likely have a harder time getting an interview than a caucasian male counterpart.

And this doesn’t just make life tougher for minority job seekers. Companies are also missing out on the benefits of a more diverse team. A 2016 report covering data from 680 founders and tech company executives found that 81 percent of respondents reported “enhanced creativity and innovation” as a result of a diverse workforce.

So how can a startup reduce bias in their recruitment efforts? Experts say that the best approach could be taking the bias out of the hiring process, rather than out of the person. Here are a few tips you can try.

Rewrite your job descriptions

Without even realizing it, you could be turning off applicants with your choice of words. Research shows that masculine adjectives like “competitive,” “determined,” and “dominant,” may signal to women that they would not fit in that type of work environment. Conversely, words like “collaborative” and “cooperative” could be more attractive. Additionally, words like “up and coming” or “fresh,” may imply a preference for younger candidates.

Fortunately, there are software programs that highlight gendered language so you can either replace them with more neutral words or try to create a balance between adjectives. For example, recruiters at Vodafone use the application Textio to take out industry jargon and help bias-proof their processes.

Widen your recruitment pool

Many employers tend to have a recruitment “comfort zone” from which they rarely stray, hiring from the same schools or relying on recommendations from friends and coworkers. While these methods aren’t ineffective, it could lead to getting the same kind of people during each hiring round.

Instead, try posting on a new job site, attending job fairs at a variety of schools, or going to meetups for women who code. You could even do what FinTech company Addepar does and recruit outside your industry. “In many cases, as long as a candidate shares your vision and core values, you can likely teach them job-specific skills and processes,” Addepar CMO Barbara Holzapfel told Fast Company.

Try nameless resume reviews

What’s in a name? A lot, apparently. In one study, applicants with names like Carrie and Kristen received fifty percent more callback interviews than those with names like Keisha and Tamika. Another recent paper found that an applicant with a Turkish name wearing a headscarf had to send 4.5 times as many applications as an applicant with a white name to receive the same number of callbacks for interviews.

A simple way to address this kind of implicit bias is to remove names and any other identifying information from job applications before your team evaluates them. This way, you’re focused on the candidate’s qualifications and talents, not the demographic characteristics that can lead to harmful stereotyping.

Of course, if you don’t want to do this yourself, there are programs that can help. For example, Plum can help you screen applicants with its pre-employment assessment. After applicants take the survey, it uses an algorithm to assign respondents a Match Score based on criteria you define, which saves you time and helps reduce bias.

Standardize interviews

Interviews are a key component of any hiring process, but they are not always a good predictor of future performance. The blame is usually on unstructured interviews and lack of defined questions. Therefore, making your interviews more structured and asking each candidate the same set of questions can help address this problem.

Of course, sticking to a script can feel a little awkward, and an interviewer’s energy or how they respond to a candidate can affect their performance. In this case, using video interview software like Spark Hire or HireVue for early-round interviews can help. Since the interviews are recorded and use standard questions, you can easily compare candidates and share them with your team to get feedback.

Test your applicants

Getting your candidates to do some kind of work sample test can be a great indicator of future job performance. Plus, since you’re evaluating the candidate’s applied skills and not just their experience or education like you would with a resume, it can also help reduce unconscious bias in your judgment. For example, web-based app Zapier has potential candidates prepare a “short lightning talk” on a topic of their choice, which they present to the whole team.

However, you need to be careful with the type of evaluations you use. For example, whiteboard coding tests have been publicly maligned by programmers and developers for being “demoralizing” and an “unrealistic test of actual ability.” Additionally, since preparing for these types of tests can take weeks, it can put people who don’t have the time to re-memorize lines of code at a disadvantage, further contributing to the diversity problem.

As one coding instructor aptly stated, “If you’re busy working and raising kids, you want to spend as much of your scarce time as possible learning to code — not performing rote memorization that won’t matter once you start your job.” A better way to test coding skills would be to use an app like Codility to assign tasks or simply allow your applicants to complete a challenge within 24 hours, like a take-home exam.

Hire by committee

Diversifying your team starts with your hiring team itself. With many startups, big hiring decisions are made by the founders. After all, with such a small team, who else would do it? However, as your team begins to grow beyond the initial founding members, so should your hiring committee.

For example, ZestFinance has no hiring manager. All decisions are made by committee, and a designated team also evaluates candidates on culture fit. “This way, many people with diverse perspectives are involved in hiring decisions, and all employees rally around a new [team member] to make them feel comfortable and enable them to succeed,” ZestFinance CEO Douglas Merrill told Fast Company.

Reducing bias, one step at a time

Shifting the needle to improve diversity and inclusion in startups won’t happen overnight. In fact, research shows that the majority of founders understand the importance of diversity, yet rarely reflect it in their ranks or have practices and policies in place to improve the situation.

But as you can see from the above suggestions, a few small changes in your hiring process can lead to big wins for your company and minority applicants alike.


Find your next great hire with Authentic Jobs.

Screening Applicants the Modern Way

Screening Applicants the Modern Way

There are few joys greater than offering an amazing job to the right candidate.

Unfortunately, getting to that point can be incredibly time consuming. Managers and recruiters can spend hours sorting through cookie-cutter resumes and interviewing so-so applicants before finally finding someone who appears to be the perfect match.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to technology, there are lots of new methods to help hiring professionals pre-screen applicants so they can save time and energy for the strongest candidates.

Here are a few ideas to help modernize your hiring process.

1. Text Messaging

Struggling to get applicants to pick up the phone? Texting could be the solution.

More employers are trying out texting apps to screen candidates in early-stage interviews, according to The Wall Street Journal. Restaurant booking service OpenTable and staffing firm Aegis are both using a messaging app called Canvas for text-based job interviews.

This strategy could especially help hiring managers targeting younger applicants. Only 12% of Millennials prefer to use phones for business communications and 45% are more inclined to text, chat online, or use email, according to research.

Companies looking to stand out while attracting younger candidates might consider meeting them on their terms. Plus, texting can speed up the pre-screen process—why spend 20 minutes on a phone call when you can send a quick text whenever it fits into your day? It’s a win-win for both sides.

2. Social Media

Screening someone through their social accounts isn’t new. In fact, 70% of employers admitted to using social media to learn more about applicants before hiring them, according to a CareerBuilder study.

By now, any candidate with self awareness will have strong privacy settings and hold off on posting inappropriate pictures for all to see. That means recruiters need to change up how they analyze the information that’s available to them on someone’s social profile.

For example, hiring managers can read beyond pure content and think about a candidate’s tone. Are their posts overwhelmingly negative or angry? Do they respond to other people or just shout into the abyss? Either case could make or break a candidate.

Keep in mind that social media isn’t just a tool to cut applicants from the shortlist; it can also support a candidate’s job qualifications. Looking into who people follow on social media can tell you a lot about a candidate’s ambitions and interests. If they follow organizations or personalities with similar values to your company’s, that could be an indicator of a good cultural fit.

3. Video Applications

Not to be mistaken for a video interview, this is usually a short video submitted alongside a traditional application where a candidate may answer questions posed by the employer. It’s still a relatively new screening method, but it’s becoming increasingly popular, especially for companies hiring creative or client-facing roles.

The benefits of this approach are numerous. For one, a video allows recruiters to get a better sense of someone’s personality compared to the traditional resume-and-cover-letter combo. It’s also a great way to filter out the less enthusiastic or tech savvy applicants.

Anybody can upload a few documents and hit submit, but taking the time to film a video shows dedication and passion. While this screening tactic may result in less applications overall, the ones that are submitted are usually of much higher quality, which saves time and resources in the long run.

4. Talent Communities

While this is more of a long-term strategy, creating a professional talent community for your company can be a helpful way to recruit quality applicants and build your employer brand at the same time.

But what is a talent community exactly? They can take many forms—a Facebook group for former volunteers, a Slack community or LinkedIn forum for professionals in your industry—but they all aim to build connections with external audiences.

Companies that take the time to build talent communities have a ready group of familiar faces that can be approached the next time they need to fill a role. However, in order for it to be successful, it’s important to create a space that is mutually beneficial for your community as well as your company. It should be a thriving place for industry discussions and networking, not the social media version of a job board.

The Right Tools Save You Time

At the end of the day, all the technology in the world can’t replace the keen eye of hiring manager or experienced recruiter. But tools like texting apps, social media, video applications, and talent communities can speed up the hiring process by turning a mountain of resumes into a much more manageable molehill.


Let Authentic Jobs bring you your next great hire.

Planning Effective Interviews

Planning Effective Interviews

Hiring new employees is a big decision. There are anxious moments when you realize you’re responsible for another person’s financial well-being, and that any hiring decisions affect your well-being and that of your company.

There are benefits too, and they’re huge. When a person signs on, they’re saying “no” to other opportunities and saying “yes” to helping to make your dream a reality. That’s a big show of faith.

Additionally, when you’ve got another person, another mind, dedicated to your vision, things start to move forward quickly. Very quickly.

This article is the first in a two-part series about hiring. First, I’ll share how-to’s and tips for conducting a traditional, in-person interview. Then, we’ll dive into hiring a remote worker. Both articles will guide you through anxious moments and suggest exactly how to begin the rewarding process of hiring the perfect fit.

Start Preparing Way Before An Interview

First and foremost, make the commitment to invest the time that recruitment, interviewing, and hiring demands. When you’re a one or two-person shop, it can seem like any time spent away from the product or service you’re nurturing is poorly spent. However, rushing into the process leads to bad hires, which is terribly expensive.

To really invest the time wisely, follow the three steps outlined below.

1. Set aside an hour at the start and end of the day

Make an appointment with yourself as you would with any important contact or associate. Maintain this appointment until you’ve completely wrapped your head around your hiring process.

2. Define your company’s core values

Your company’s core values tell prospective employees a lot about the job. Consider Apple. Words that come to mind are probably innovation, cool, “think different” and passion for design.

In a speech to Apple employees, Steve Jobs once said, “What we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their job done… Apple is about something more than that. Apple at the core… It’s core values… is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

With your values clearly defined, it’s easier to convey them to a candidate.

3. Design an on-boarding process

There’s a tendency to ride the momentum and excitement of bringing someone new on board by handing them a bunch of work with a hearty, “Go!” However, properly bringing a new person on board builds a foundation for a great relationship.

Since many employees often work long hours—and considering they probably weren’t there for the inception and early days of the business—they really need to feel like a part of the team. Here are a few effective strategies:

    1. Have them meet the team via email prior to their start date. Or do so in person. This can be informal and even include fun ice-breakers. I once worked at a startup that held a weekly “board game night,” and as a new hire, I found it a welcoming, low-pressure way to meet everyone.
    2. Create a brief orientation day, including sessions on company policies, but also topics like company culture, company history, intent and strategies.
    3. Prepare a proper workstation with a laptop and other required tools. A mug or T-shirt with a logo is another way to say, “Welcome, you’re part of the team.”

There’s the typical HR stuff to complete, of course, but going a step or two beyond is worth the effort.

Designing The Perfect Interview Process

With those preliminary steps taken care of, it’s time to begin recruiting and interviewing. Thinking about this stage well before you start looking at applications gives candidates an equal chance and helps you weigh priorities before wasting people’s time.

Screening applications

When the applications start to come in, look for the following:

  1. People with startup/small business experience. True, a small business is not a startup, but someone who has worked at one is comfortable in small teams and having a lot of responsibility.
  2. Look for side projects, even if they aren’t related to what your product or service is. People who take projects on or create them for themselves are generally eager to try new things, dedicated, and not afraid to work hard.
  3. If you’re hiring for a web startup, hire people who understand the internet inside and out. Developers, coders, and designers should have a vibrant social media presence or portfolio. Twitter can give you a good idea of a person, even if it means scrolling through 100 tweets.

Once you’ve identified the best candidates, it’s time to begin the interview process.

Give candidates an initial test

First, have applicants demonstrate their skills or abilities. Many applicants know how to answer common interview questions or drop buzzwords.

Cut through all of that and have them complete a task similar to what they’d face at work. For example, if you’re hiring a salesperson or marketing pro, have them sell you something. In an interview for a sales position, my manager ended the interview by handing me a cup of tea with the instructions, “Sell me on this cup of tea. You have five minutes.”

Additionally, pay attention to who completes the task and who goes the extra mile with it. The former is good, but the latter should move directly to your short list.

Conduct the initial interview

At last, you’ve identified some candidates and you’re ready to begin the in-person interviews. Once they’ve arrived, there are some topics to address right away.

First, look for people who are real and clear. This can be a bit hard to define, but be wary of people who use cliche phrases and terms. Instead, go for the person who speaks their mind. You need people who are smart and driven, of course, but also not afraid to disagree with you.

Share your vision for the company and the likely long hours they’ll be putting in. This who don’t balk make the cut and should move on to the next steps.

Have them interview with everyone

You’ve got a small company, so let the short-list interviewees sit with everyone on the team. Particularly in startups and small companies, team members work long hours, very closely together. Therefore, it’s crucial that people get along.

That one minor personality conflict will be amplified a hundredfold when you’re all working in close quarters six months down the road. Don’t overlook it. Go for the people who can honestly explain what they like and dislike. Those are the people who care and will tell you the truth when they claim to believe in the core values you defined earlier.

Don’t forget to check references

Skills, experience, and enthusiasm are worthless in a person with a poor work ethic. Anyone who struggles to provide solid, believable references should be nixed.

Hire as soon as it makes sense

When you feel it’s time to grow and it makes sense financially, make the hire. Adding another person to the team takes whole projects and routines off your busy to-do list. The added brainpower and sheer work hours are a real lift to everyone.

Adding to your team is daunting, but when approached carefully, thoughtfully and with the right preparation, is very likely to be successful. Be sure to step back from the resume and engage your candidates, share the work culture, seek examples of their work and ensure they’ll fit in well with the team.


Let Authentic Jobs help you make that great hire.

How to Define a New Role at a Startup

How to Define a New Role at a Startup

As a startup founder or team lead, you already have a lot on your plate. Growing the business and keeping it running on the day-to-day is hard enough without throwing hiring into the mix.

When it does come time to hire, it can be difficult to gauge what your team needs. This is made even harder when a startup is young or lacks a defined company structure.

Defining a new role is the first step to making a great hire. Wrapping your head around the required skills, personality, and experience of a new employee will save you time and sanity in the long run.

Required Skills

Start by thinking of the tasks and responsibilities that the new role will be responsible for. Then, make a list of skills a person will realistically need to accomplish these tasks successfully.
Let’s take a graphic designer as an example. The new hire might be responsible for designing for a variety of formats, building out your brand, and managing web design. To do these things, the designer will probably need skills in the Adobe Creative Suite and HTML & CSS.

Now, take it a step further and envision how this person will fit in with your team’s current skillset. If there are gaps with your current team, a new hire might be able to fill them. For example, the graphic designer might also need illustration skills or have experience building teams. Think of any skills that might not be explicitly implied in an average description for the title, and add them to your posting.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at job descriptions for similar roles. If you have other employees, ask them to draft a description what the new hire’s day-to-day should look like and any skills they feel would round out the team. This gives you a candid peek into how your team thinks a new employee could contribute to overall goals.

Personality and Characteristics

When the team is small, finding a personality that fits in with your organization’s culture and vision is just as important as finding the right skillset. Before interviewing people, think about your company culture and what a person needs to excel within your team.

Start by considering your industry. If you build software for the non-profit sector, a genuine interest or passion in the area you serve could be fundamental to the role.

Also consider the team you already have and their personalities and working style. What would a person need to fit within this structure? Do you need a flexible person that’s ready and willing to take direction, or do you need a confident go-getter that will proactively seek out work instead of waiting to be directed?

Take stock of your current employees’ strengths and weaknesses and think about how an ideal candidate’s personality traits would fit in and complement them. By doing so, you’ll be bringing your company to the next level with each additional team member.

Experience Level and Company Structure

One of the most important factors in finding the right candidate for your organization is to find the right experience level for your needs and budget allowance. Would you like a hungry entry-level employee that’s ready to roll up their sleeves and learn, or do you need a more seasoned professional that can help lead the team when you’re offsite?

Many startup founders and team leads wear many hats, but juggling responsibilities can lead to inefficient and overwhelmed management. If you already have several employees reporting to you, it could be a good time to bring in a more senior employee to manage teams.

On the other hand, if you already have a solid team of senior employees ready to take on more responsibility, this could be a good time to bring in a more junior member to take on production.

Growth Strategy

Thinking about how each hire affects overall growth is an important thing to keep in mind. Depending on your product, you may require talent upfront to bring your product to launch, or you could keep things lean until the product is ready to enter market.

Also consider how this role fits into your startup’s needs in the short and long term. It’s natural to need evolving skillsets as a company grows—generalists are usually fundamental at the beginning while specialists are more helpful when the team reaches larger sizes.

Of course, budget should also be top of mind. As you define a new role, consider your reason for hiring and how your needs balance with what you can afford. If you’re short-handed after signing a big contract, consider the stability and longevity of the role before hiring full-time employees. If the demand is beginning to grow but your profit isn’t stable, consider freelance or contract talent. This will help you fulfill your current requirements without overextending budgets.

Defining Roles Sets You Up For Success

Building a team from scratch is one of the hardest things founders and leads have to do. Taking time to define the role before digging in can set you up for success in the long term. It helps set expectations for you and the new hire and gives everyone a framework to work from.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to trust your gut. In a lot of cases, personality outweighs skills that can be taught over time. Sometimes assembling the right group of people is more important than meeting the responsibilities set on paper.


Find your next new teammate by posting on Authentic Jobs.

How to Spot a Superstar in a Stack of Applications

How to Spot a Superstar in a Stack of Applications

Hiring has never been tougher. Thanks to the rise of job boards and sites like LinkedIn, employers now receive hundreds of applications for positions ranging from entry-level graphic designers all the way up to CEOs.

Missing out on top talent is a costly mistake – not only will it slow your organization’s growth, but you can be certain your competition is waiting in the wings to sign the best and brightest to their team.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you sort through an avalanche of applications and find that next superstar hire.

Start With The Goal

You think you know what you want. But do you really?

Planning ahead to truly understand what you’re looking for before you even write the job posting will not only make your life easier, it’ll also lead to better candidates applying for the position.

After all, a top-tier applicant isn’t going to bother applying for a job description that’s gibberish – and they’re certainly not going to pursue the opportunity if you can’t explain the position clearly.

Think about the intangible qualities that make the position you’re hiring for unique. Are you looking for a graphic designer or an art director? Perhaps the job posting was titled “head of sales” but what you’re really looking for is a right hand. Or maybe you insisted that next programmer be based out of your Bay-area office, when in reality they could work remotely.

The point is, you need to have a vision for every position you fill. Take the time to truly understand your expectations before looking for talent.

Make Three Lists

After you understand your vision for the role, make three lists:

Must haves
These are the qualities, experiences, and skills that are essential. For example, if you’re hiring a programmer, they need to know how to code in specific languages.


Nice to haves
That programmer mentioned above obviously needs to code – but what if you’re a small startup and everyone needs to chip in? In that case, you may want a developer with industry connections to help with business development.

Deal breakers
This is the list of things that makes a candidate a non-starter. Perhaps most of your team is working remotely now, but you need to hire an entry-level member of the marketing team to double as an office manager. In that case, refusing to relocate would be a deal breaker.

Start Sorting – Ruthlessly and Immediately

Sorting through mountains of resumes, cover letters, and portfolios can seem daunting.

It’s tempting to put off the hard work of doing a deep dive into the applications you receive. It’s also tempting to steal away a few minutes here and there to glance at resumes as they land in your inbox.

The better approach is to schedule a few hours every couple days to dig in and review each application. As you do, sort them based on the three lists you made earlier.

Reject anyone who lands in the deal breaker category immediately, and set aside candidates who check off the must have boxes. If someone fits into both the must have and nice to have categories, schedule those interviews right away.

Candidates who surprise you (in a good way) may also deserve special treatment. If someone has gone above and beyond to make a creative application or if they bring something exceptional to the table (such as experience working for your competition), consider putting them at the top of the interview pile – even if other applicants look better on paper.

Know When to Wait

Some candidates might not meet the must-haves or the deal breakers. You shouldn’t have to settle, but you don’t want to close the door on a good candidate.

It’s best to wait on these applicants and return to them later, so put these folks in another folder. If a candidate seems to have the right qualities to fit in with the team but doesn’t quite meet your expectations for this particular role, file his or her resume away for future reference.

If you don’t find someone who feels right after the first round of interviews, take a second look at this pile. Ask yourself if a “must have” quality may be better suited for the “nice to have” list. If there’s someone in this category you like, introduce them to some trusted colleagues. Often your coworkers can provide a good gut check about whether or not that applicant will make a good fit.

Good hires can change the game.

Finding your next game-changing hire is easy when you follow these four steps. Start by doing the hard work of understanding your own expectations. Then divide those expectations into three lists and triage the candidates in a way that makes sense for the role.

Happy (head) hunting!


Hire your next superstar on Authentic Jobs.

Acing Salary Negotiations as a Remote Worker

Acing Salary Negotiations as a Remote Worker

You’ve made it this far. You’ve gotten through the HR screening, the interviews, and the reference checks. The offer is on the table (or coming shortly), and you know this could be a mutually beneficial relationship if you move forward.

Before making any decisions, make sure you’re prepared for proper negotiations with these simple steps.

Know the market rate by location

Conduct your own research to have a strong understanding of the market rate in both your city and your employer’s city. This is important to do so you can come into negotiations balancing your skillsets and the current market rate. If you’re working with a company outside of your country, stick to local currencies and consider how the cost of living differs.

Knowing the market rate in your city gives you an idea of what you would make if you accepted a full-time position locally, while looking into the employer’s city provides the rate they would be paying non-remote workers in the same role.

There are a lot of online resources that allow you to search specific job titles, years of experience, company size, and set regions. Check out Indeed Salary Search, Glassdoor, and Salary.com to get started. For an employer’s perspective, read Buffer’s Medium post on how it calculates remote worker salaries.

If you have time to prepare, it’s beneficial to explore other location rates before going into negotiations. As a remote worker, prospective offers could come from anywhere. Your employer needs to understand a better offer could come around next month if they’re not meeting a global standard—and maybe you would rather hold out for that offer and the higher compensation

Restate your value from a new perspective

At this point, the company has read through your resume and spoken to your references. Ultimately, the recruiter is sold, but the negotiation process is an opportunity to “re-sell” yourself from a new perspective.

Now is a good time to remind both yourself and your potential employer of the value you offer.

Don’t focus on what you’ve achieved in the past because that’s what brought you to the table. Focus on your unique value and how you see yourself impacting the company’s long-term growth. Be confident you can make a difference and show enthusiasm about the opportunity to join the team. Remind them of the guaranteed return on investment of your employment, and your negotiations will start off with a respectful offer.

Provide a strategic range

Do you hit them with a cold, hard number or propose an open range? It’s the ultimate salary negotiation question.
Some candidates prefer a range with their desired salary in the middle, hoping for the offer to “meet them halfway”. Some employment specialists lean towards providing a single number, because potential employers take advantage of the lower end of the range you offer.

But why not let them?

The trick here is how you set your salary range.

When hoping for a $75,000 salary, it’s natural to spit out a range of $70,000 to $80,000. Instead, try setting the bottom of your range to what you actually want. In this example, we would offer a range of $75,000-95,000. By doing this, your employer feels like they’re getting a deal at $75,000, and you walk away with what you wanted. If they meet you halfway, you score some extra cash on top or alternatively, they may offer additional benefits to balance your request.

As long as you keep the “low” number reasonable based off your research and the value you provide, employers rarely come back with a refusal to meet you somewhere within your provided range.

Look at the whole package

Once you’ve conducted research and put your numbers on the table, it’s easy to forget about perks that aren’t reflected in the salary. Keep these in mind throughout your negotiations.

Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Is there an opportunity to travel like you’ve always wanted to?
  • Does the company offer flexible hours that fit into your early riser schedule?
  • Does it allow you to manage an incredible team of skilled individuals?
  • Can you work on your own projects on the side, if desired?
  • How will this position help you progress in your career, learn new skills, or gain important experience?

While negotiations focus on financial compromise, keep these other components in mind. When evaluating two options, Company A may provide 20% more compensation but Company B might be the best choice because it fits your lifestyle and makes you excited to work.

Making your decision solely based off the numbers could mean finding yourself searching for something new in no time.

Be willing to walk away

There’s nothing more valuable than knowing your worth.

Negotiations are an opportunity for give and take, but ask yourself whether you’re giving too much, what value exists beyond salary, and if the job is the right step in your career.

These questions are what’s going to help you decide if a company’s final offer is the right decision for you. Sometimes you may just land your dream job, but other times you may be clouded with compliments before realizing someone is taking advantage of you.

See how their offer compares to what you feel you’re worth. If it’s not adding up, speak up, but accept that you may have to walk away.


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