Category Archives: Hiring

Why and How Startups Should Hire Remote From the Start

Why and How Startups Should Hire Remote From the Start

Building a team in a traditional office environment is expensive, especially if it’s in a tech hub like New York, San Francisco, and Austin. In these places, startups compete for limited talent and expensive office space while trying to build a new company.

That’s why startup founders should consider hiring remote when it comes time to build a team. Let’s discuss why and how remote employees could work for your startup.

Why Remote Teams Are A Great Option for Startups

With location out of the equation, remote teams unlock new opportunities for startups. Founders and team leads should consider the following three perks when deciding if remote teams are the right fit.

1. Access to talent
Finding the best talent is one of the biggest challenges facing employers. By hiring a remote team, you increase the size of your talent pool because you can hire people located anywhere in the world, or at least in the same timezone.

Because of this, remote work improves your chances of attracting the best and brightest. Many talented web creators are looking for more flexibility in their day-to-day lives, and being able to provide the freedom of remote work can give you an advantage when competing against tech giants for talent.

2. Cost
Hiring a remote team saves money in the short and long term. Not having a physical office means no monthly rent payments and less money spent on office supplies. Onboarding remote employees also means you don’t need to pay salaries to meet living standards in large cities.

Startups can use these savings to invest in employee training or work retreats. These perks create a happier workforce and a more cohesive team—not to mention, more profit!

3. Performance-based results
Remote teams send your employees a simple message: you care about work that moves the company closer to its goals. Without requiring a physical presence, employees have to point to performance to show that they’re contributing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

By letting employees choose the workplace that suits them best, remote teams are also given more opportunity to be creative and productive.

The Keys to Hiring Remote Employees

It’s clear that remote teams offer major perks to startups operating on a lean, performance-based model. Hiring managers and startup founders should keep in mind that hiring for remote jobs is different than for traditional office environments. Keep these four strategies in mind when building your first remote team.

1. Hire employees made for remote work
Remote work isn’t for everyone. Hire people with remote work experience, or who want a flexible work environment. Most great remote hires share common characteristics like being tech-savvy or having strong communication skills. To find the best talent, use a tailored job board like Authentic Jobs.

2. Be clear about your expectations
Nothing is worse for business than a boss with ambiguous expectations. From the first job interview to the team Skype meeting, tell your team what you expect from them. Holding people accountable is important in any management role, but all the more so in a remote work environment.

Setting clear procedures will help. For example, a specific time each week for a one-on-one phone call with team members keeps everyone one track.

3. Focus on outputs, not inputs
Like I pointed out before, great remote workers focus on performance instead of logging in. When hiring remote employees, give them the freedom they need to perform. For example, flexible work hours let people work when they’re most productive. This shows you care that the work gets done rather than when it gets done.

Of course, not all roles can offer flexible work times. Many teams have “core hours” when meetings and collaboration take place so employees can structure the rest of their day for their work and lifestyle.

4. Don’t think it’s easy to transition to remote later on
The best time to start building a remote team is with your first hire. If you make the decision to switch to remote later on, you run the risk of isolating employees who aren’t comfortable with a remote arrangement.

A blended model is usually awkward and leads to a “two-team” approach. You definitely don’t want your team to think employees who work from home are less important, or that remote work is a cushy arrangement for slackers.

Is A Remote Team the Right Choice?

Working remotely can have enormous benefits for your company and your team. It unlocks access to new talent, lets you save money, and puts the focus on results.

When hiring remote teams, it’s important to hire personalities fit for remote work and to be clear about expectations from the start. With these tips in mind, startups everywhere can build remote teams that are poised to disrupt markets far and wide.


Ready to find the perfect remote hire? Try Authentic Jobs.

The 8 Best Interview Questions For Designers and Developers

The 8 Best Interview Questions For Designers and Developers

Every candidate is different. As is every job and every interview.

But founders and team leads can pinpoint questions that apply across the board to find out what experience each candidate has, how they conduct work, and how they would fit into your team.

Here are eight interview questions you should ask all designers and developers during the interview stage.

Experience & Skillsets

What programs have you worked with in the past?

This is a standard resume question. You can read up on their specific application experience in their submitted resume, but asking it in person gives you a deeper look. Pay attention to what order they go in. The programs they list first are the ones they’re likely most comfortable with, while the ones they list on their resume but forget to mention in person are most likely ones where they lack in-depth experience.

This question also allows an opportunity to dive in and ask about how they’ve used each, what they like or don’t like about them, and which they hope to work with most often.

What industries have you done work for?

Don’t limit yourself to designers and developers who have worked in your industry. If you do, you risk missing out on some powerful talent and may even find your new hire falling into the old ways of their previous company’s needs.

Get an idea of what industries they’ve worked in before to understand how their unique experience can help your organization grow. This also gives you an opportunity to see if they’ll be bored or excited by the work you need them to do.

What have your past teams looked like?

The DNA of development and design teams vary depending drastically. Has this person been working independently or are they used to a detail-oriented process that involves multiple members?

It’s important to understand what they’re used to in order to understand their preferred management and teamwork style. Do they have the time management skills to run all projects? How do their skillsets normally complement others?

What project are you most proud of and why?

Looking back on everything you’ve accomplished and picking a highlight is an important step in the interview process. It gives you a better understanding of the type of work they value, the size of projects they’ve worked on, and what specific skillsets they enjoy utilizing the most. Did they enjoy the product because they were the lead on it? Did they simply love the aesthetics of their final work? Narrow in on why it was their favorite project.

Some other key interview questions on experience and skillset include:
  • Which websites or companies do you admire and why?
  • What are two things you would change to our current website from your experience so far?
  • What type of work do you love doing and what do you hate?

Interview questions to decide team fit

Personality & Team Fit

How do you approach a new project?

Vague questions can be uncomfortable for applicants, but they provide insight into their experience, their skillsets, their personality, and most importantly, how they fit in your team. Get them to walk you through their creative process, the questions they ask before getting started, and how they see other team members collaborating with them throughout the process.

Ask how they manage expectations and how they work to ensure important deadlines are met. This question can trigger some major red flags and help you avoid candidates who rely too heavily on others or are possessive of their projects.

What’s your favorite part of your day?

Are they passionate about developing a creative strategy or executing on the final details? Do they look forward to social breaks to find inspiration from teammates, or do they crave an afternoon in silence alone with their tasks and headphones?

This question helps figure out how they would jive with your company culture. It’s a good way to see if they’d be a fit for your organization, but it’s also an insightful one for optimizing their onboarding if you decide to extend an offer. If they like quiet, offer them a desk location away from the sales team. If they’re big into collaboration, re-evaluate how your team is currently set up to get a collaborative space working for them. You can also narrow in on the tasks at which they’ll excel or fall short and prescribe their workload accordingly.

Ask a behavioral-focused question.

Large tech companies are infamous for their approaches to interview questions. Google has been known to ask problem-solving questions to challenge a candidate’s creativity and resourcefulness. Shopify focuses on the “tell your story” approach, where candidates are asked questions about their life.

These types of questions may feel like a drastic change, but finding a problem-solving, behavioral question that fits your company is a great way to find your perfect match.

Some other key interview questions to gauge personality and team fit include:
  • How do you know when a project is finished?
  • If a project scope changes entirely midway, how would you react and adapt?
  • How would you handle conflict if someone disagrees with your vision on a particular project?
  • How can you ensure other team members understand their role in the project?
  • Describe your current manager and what you like or don’t like about them.

Lastly, always ask “How do you keep up with current industry standards, trends, and new tools?” This question speaks to their experience, scrappiness, skill set, and personality—all indicators of how they’ll fit into your team.

Finding the Perfect Match

There is no perfect, pre-determined set of interview questions for hiring developers and designers. Test some of these out, and always remember to focus on the areas that are most important to your organization. Is it better that they have a wide skillset or that they fit in with their co-workers? Is collaboration key to your company success or do they need to be able to work isolated?

Answering these questions will help you plan a better, more insightful interview process.


Ready to find the perfect candidate? Try Authentic Jobs your next hire.

A group has a planning meeting.

Hiring Remote? Here’s How to Communicate Company Culture

We’ve all heard about the fun things companies like Google and Facebook do to create a positive and engaging culture in their offices. It’s easy to drum up excitement in new talent when you can show off a cereal wall or slide on the office tour.

But what about the companies that thrive on remote staff? While it can be more difficult to communicate and effectively promote company culture when hiring for remote positions, it’s not entirely out of reach. Consider the below strategies as you develop your remote hiring process.

Well-Written Job Posting

When seeking to hire new talent to your team, take care in writing an accurate and engaging job description for the role. This is the first interaction that will attract talent to your company, so make sure your brand personality and unique aspects of your culture are present in the posting.

When hiring for remote roles, be sure to include any special perks your company offers off-site employees. Some companies will offer bonuses like internet allowances, professional training packages, or subsidized private health care.

More unusual remote employee perks include coffee shop gift cards, gym membership allowances, vacation expense allowances, and even long-term sabbaticals offered over incremental periods with the company to prevent burnout.

Face-to-Face Remote Interviews

When conducting interviews for remote team members, incorporate face-to-face meetings into your process. Face-to-face meetings are as important for hiring remote staff as they are for in-house staff. Using tools like Skype, Facetime or Google Hangouts, it’s easy to coordinate a meeting with candidates from anywhere across the globe.

Taking the time and effort to coordinate a face-to-face chat helps to personalize the meeting and allows both sides to gain a better understanding of one another. A lot is communicated through nonverbal cues, so this can be a great tactic to help you get a better feel for the candidate while providing them the opportunity to get a better feel for you as well.

People have different strengths in communication. Some may feel the most comfortable over email, others may prefer to speak over the phone, and some may find a face-to-face chat the most effective. In your interview process, try your best to incorporate all three methods of communication to give a fair opportunity for each type of communicator to shine.

Interviews With Various Team Members

Extending your interview process past the hiring manager and direct manager offers benefits for both sides. For the candidate, this gives an opportunity to get a feel for the different personalities on the team. For the company, it provides an opportunity to get an accurate idea of how this individual might fit into the team dynamic.

Setting up meetings between a candidate and team members is always a good idea. After all, these are the people the hire will need to communicate with on a regular basis. Getting a feel of what it would be like to work with colleagues makes a huge difference in a new hire’s understanding of company culture and can make or break the interview process.

Adding to that, it can be particularly beneficial to set up conversations with current remote team members for first-hand accounts of the remote workflow in your company and how your company culture specifically impacts remote employees.

Include Your Remote Team

If your remote company culture could use some love, prioritize these changes before you continue building remote teams. Treating remote team members like freelancers separate from in-office workers is dangerous for morale and retention.

There are many ways you can help build camaraderie and a sense of inclusion among your remote team members. This could include big on-location events like team meetups or even smaller, more commonplace gatherings like daily or weekly online hangouts between staff to catch up on project progress and speak with each other in a more relaxed setting.

Many successful remote companies hold annual or semi-annual gatherings to bring their staff together. For example, Buffer plans semi-annual trips with their whole team to have discussions and strategy sessions for the months ahead. Then, the team takes the evenings and weekends to enjoy the location and get to know each other better.

Promote whatever your company does to bring together remote workers physically or digitally. Include these experiences on the company blog and social media, and showcase these perks in the hiring process. Displaying this part of your culture shows remote talent that you take their contributions seriously and gets them excited to join the team.

Remain Open to the Changing Workplace

As workplace trends change, continue to create opportunities for remote team members to feel included in the inner workings of the company. This drastically enhances a company’s culture from the perspective of future remote employees and makes the hiring process smoother.

As the world becomes more and more connected globally, your remote workforce will become an increasingly important part of your team. Retaining this top talent around the world could be the key to your company’s success.


Expanding your remote team? Use Authentic Jobs to find your next hire.

The Basics of Making An Offer To Your First Hire

The Basics of Making An Offer To Your First Hire

Recruiting and interviewing your startup’s first employee is a thrilling and trying time. For startup founders who often lack HR experience—and are already deep in the activity of launching a business—the process is downright daunting.

Once you’ve found a candidate that checks all the boxes, it’s time to bring them on board. This process can be broken into four steps: covering the legal requirements, negotiating, making an offer, and planning for their first day.

In this article, I explain how to navigate each step of making a job offer with suggestions to make your life easier along the way.

The Legal Requirements of Hiring

This is arguably the least exciting aspect of hiring a new employee, but it must be done.

First, you should read this full article from the United States Small Business Administration (USSBA), as well as anything that’s unique to your city or state. Again, it’s not thrilling, but all of this must be completed before the new hire can log a single hour of work.

Additionally, you’ll need to have your new employee complete a W4 and an I-9 if you’re based in the US. As with the tasks listed above, these forms must be complete and on file before an employee begins work.

If these acronyms have you dazed, opt for online services that make this process smoother. WorkBright, Agile HR, and Zenefits are a few to consider. These services cost money to use but will be a lot cheaper than an in-house HR professional.

You should also make sure payroll is lined up before the new hire comes on board. For example, do you have a finance person in-house or will you use an outside service? Often times an accountant will run payroll for a small business or startup.

Navigating Negotiations

Now that the legal boxes are checked, turn your attention back to the would-be employee.

Before making an offer, request and check references. Make sure you get two professional references and one personal reference, then pick up the phone and call them. Ask the professional reference if they’d hire the person for the target position, and ask the personal references how long they’ve known the candidate and their thoughts on their personality and work ethic.

If that goes well, it’s time to negotiate with the candidate. Remember, a formal job offer is a give-and-take for all involved. That said, it isn’t about “winning.” Your goal shouldn’t be to walk away the victor, but to come to a result that makes everyone happy.

Salary is a logical place to start. First, define what your limits are. As a young startup, money is likely tight. Identify a number that represents your absolute limit for salary *and* benefits. Make your first offer a little below that figure so you have room to negotiate.

Next, be aware of what your competitors are paying those in a similar position, as well as what your candidate was earning at his or her previous job. To fill in any gaps between your ideal number and what competitors are offering, consider things like bonuses and benefits. Flexible schedules or equity might go a long way.

At this stage, be willing to walk away. That’s not easy to say and even harder to do. If your would-be hire becomes inflexible or unreasonably demanding during the negotiation process, it’s best to let him or her go, as disappointing as that might be.

Making the Formal Offer

Once you and the preferred candidate negotiate a plan forward, contact them by phone or video call if you haven’t already. A face-to-face discussion is more effective at conveying your enthusiasm than an email would be.

Next, draft, sign and send an employee offer letter. It should include:

  1. A job description, including job title, duties and responsibilities
  2. Required hours or schedule
  3. Starting date
  4. Salary/wages and benefits

Of course, all of these items should have been discussed in the negotiation phase. Put a deadline on when the letter should be signed and returned to you by the employee. Giving candidates 24 to 48 hours is standard practice.

As a young startup company, you’ll also want to have a Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement signed by the employee (here’s an example). Without this agreement, they may be free to discuss your intellectual property or take work they created for the company with them upon termination. It’s best to protect yourself from day one.

Put the signed documents in a new employee file to be built over time with performance (records of promotions/demotions, performance reviews, disciplinary actions/warnings, awards or commendations) and separation records (termination paperwork, letters of resignation and exit interview notes). This will help you stay organized in the event of termination.

Preparing for the Start Date

It’s nearly time to celebrate and thank everyone who helped you get here. Hiring is a major milestone and one who should be proud of.

But first, consider that a new job is an exciting and difficult time for both employee and employer. Take these last steps to ease the pain for everyone.

Make a list of routine expectations. Years ago I was given a list of “Ongoing Tasks” I’d complete routinely, week after week. These did not change. Next, a list of general “To Dos” which changed from week to week and finally a list of “Open” tasks that I could address when I had time. I loved these lists, as I knew exactly what was expected of me as the new guy, and I plugged all of them into a daily routine that worked.

It’s also a good idea to plan the new person’s first week for them. This will be the time they’ll learn the product inside and out, read up on policies and procedures, and attend any planned orientation sessions you have. This ensures that they’re informed and reduces stress on their part. By week two, they can move on to “real” work.

A welcome kit with company-branded items isn’t a bad idea, either. Source: LinkedIn

Four Steps to Startup Hiring

Congratulations on bringing someone on board. It’s an involved process but one that’s certainly manageable for those who plan ahead. Be diligent and careful, purposeful and smart.

Follow the steps outlined in this series and use it as a checklist. May your employee roster and your business grow to great heights.


Expanding your team? Use Authentic Jobs to find your next hire.

Woman Taking Notes

3 Secrets For Leading Remote Teams to Success

Managers looking to successfully lead a remote team should have two concerns: hiring the right people and making sure everyone is on the same page after that.

While simple in writing, it’s hard to resist the temptation to treat remote workers as mythical beasts who are better left to their own devices. This isn’t Hogwarts, and remote workers aren’t wizards.

Great managers of remote workers do three things in common to ensure employees are happy, productive, and feel included. As I said, it starts with hiring the right people.

Find the Right People

Hiring remote from within

A successful remote team is staffed by the right people. Hiring managers looking to hire remote for the first time should consider a timed trial period to see whether the arrangement works as part of the company’s culture.

Define a start date, check-in times to monitor progress, and a wrap-up to discuss what was learned and what lessons can carry over if you plan to bring on more remote workers. Resist the urge to make it a one-month trial—you’ll need at least a few months to settle into the flow of remote work.

When selecting workers for this trial, consider employees who are productive and reliable without a lot of direct hands-on management. Be clear that they’re part of a trail and are expected to provide feedback on the arrangement as well as complete work as usual. With their comments, you’ll gain valuable insights on if and how a remote team will function and contribute to your business.

Hiring remote from outside the company

First, know where to find people who want to work from home. Job boards such as Authentic Jobs have lots of people specifically searching for remote work.

A remote applicant will likely describe themselves as a self-motivated, independent worker. Words are cheap so look for concrete evidence of this in their work history. Did she start a podcast or blog? Has she launched a website, product or a business? Has this person taken a chance with a startup? Someone who has a hand in projects like these typically have the focus and drive to work well in a remote setting.

Still, a little guidance will be necessary. As the manager, take care of this by defining expectations at the hiring stage. For example, communicate how you monitor progress and productivity by explaining the position’s monthly, quarterly and annual goals (as well as project-specific objectives) as well as outlining regular, mutually agreed upon check-in times.

If you and your remote team can schedule a day back at the office, great. If not, focus on finding the right tools.

Use the Right Tools

I spent five years in a virtual newsroom with AOL. There was an Editor-In-Chief, a Managing Editor (yours truly) and a stable of full-time writers and freelancers that spanned three continents. Even those of us who were in the U.S. were scattered from New York to California. In fact, no two of us were in the same state. Yet we had clearly-defined “office hours,” a strong work culture and concise, and effective team meetings thanks to some fantastic online tools.

Back then, we used IRC as our “office” (decidedly old school), but today my choice is Slack. Basecamp is another fantastic option, with a focus on recording a project’s history and all relevant communications. You should also consider Skype for meetings (and interviews), and a service like Trello for project assignments and coordination.

In the situation where workers are dispersed across time zones, setting rotating meeting times on these tools makes it so one individual or group of individuals isn’t always getting up early or working late. Check out this list of 19 products for managing time zone differences—many even integrate right within Slack.

Rules and Policies

As I mentioned earlier, setting rules and expectations in the hiring stage can ward off frustration later on. Sticking to these rules and expectations is key to ensure everyone is on the same page when they can’t be in the same room.

Here are a few I recommend:

  • If you’re “at work,” you’re in Slack (or IM, IRC, etc.) Email is fine but it can’t beat the immediacy of live conversation. Require remote workers to be in the tool of your choice during their work hours. Get site-based workers in the habit of doing this, too.
  • Set times for check-in meetings. This is a time you’ll all get together, either in person or virtually, to catch up, offer feedback and see where people are at.
  • End meetings with identifying action steps and the responsible parties. “So, the action steps are [X]. [Y] will report in a week.” That way everyone, including the “away team,” know’s what’s expected of whom.

I recommend keeping any rules in a central, easily-updated location to make onboarding easy. Then it’s easy to grab the latest copy and forward it to a new member of your away team.

Finally, be careful when discussing remote workers if you have an office-based team. It’s easy to use language that creates an “us vs. them” mentality that you definitely want to avoid. Be as generous with public praise as you are with all employees. This will prevent local workers from feeling “different” than your remote workers, and helps the distributed team feel included and acknowledged.

The 3 Steps to Success

With a little time and attention to these details, you’ll have a remote team that hums right along.

Successful management of remote teams relies on finding the right people, using communication tools, and setting expectations. Remember that home-based staff are just like the person in the next office… plus pets, a full kitchen and potentially a gaggle of kids at their feet.


Try Authentic Jobs your next hire.

Dog Napping On Woman Typing On Computer

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.


Try Authentic Jobs your next hire.

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.