October 23, 2014

11 Places to Find Startup Talent

Recruiting startup talent can be a daunting task, especially if you have no idea where to look. You might be on a budget, but you want to make sure you have a qualified pool from which to choose. So where do you start? There are a few members of the YEC community well versed in such matters.

businessman searching

We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs, this question:

“What online communities, job sites or networks do you use to find the best startup talent for your company?”

Here are their recommendations for online communities to tap into to find qualified talent for your growing startup:

1. Blog as Job Board

“I’ve actually found the most success finding talent through blogging. Establish a good reputation in your industry and display your knowledge in a helpful way and not only will you gain the respect and thanks of everyone you provide value to, you’ll also position yourself to be the first-choice workplace for the talent who read it.” ~ Colin Wright, Exile Lifestyle

2. Facebook

“While most people think of LinkedIn for connections in business, the people who you probably trust the most are the ones you are connected to on Facebook. Ask those friends individually who they would consider to be top talent and ask for referrals to fill your position. Start with the people you know the best.” ~ Matt Wilson, Under30CEO.com

3. Quora

“Quora is a question-and-answer site with discussions on an incredible variety of topics. I have had more than a handful of conversations with prospective employees whom I found on Quora — their taking the time to share insights on topics like marketing and sales has been an amazing indicator of their passion for the topic.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

4. Start With Your Customers

“I’ve found great talent by simply sending out an email to my database of prospects and customers. Ask if they know anyone who would be a fit and you’ll be surprised who shows up. It’s also a great way to tap into people who are already employed and aren’t necessarily looking on job boards.” ~ Laura Roeder, LKR

5. Forrst

“If you’re ever looking for a developer or designer Forrst is the best place to go. Forrst was built as a community for developers and designers but over time features have been added to make it easier and easier to find potential talent. It’s definitely worth your time.” ~ Ben Lang, MySchoolHelp

6. Go Local

“I recommend looking for talent on local municipality, university and school job boards. The postings are typically free, you avoid the complications of relocating someone and you get more “raw” talent. Big jobs sites have a great selection of awesome resumes and experience, but they are short on local entrepreneurial thinkers.” ~ Lucas Sommer, Audimated

7. LinkedIn Is Great for Recruiting

“Using LinkedIn to reach out to prospective candidates in your local area, with the specific job skills you are looking for, is fantastic and incredibly cost effective when compared to the cost of using a recruiter or headhunter. LinkedIn also allows you to purchase ads targeting specific job titles in a specific city, which is a great way to put your job ad in front of the right people cheaply.” ~ Matt Mickiewicz, 99designs

8. Referral-to-Hire and Social Media

“Fundamentally, we have a 60 percent referral-to-hire rate, while other talent is found using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, SimplyHired, Indeed.com, GlassDoor, Vancouver’s HR Tech Group, co-op, and internship programs. I also recommend taking things offline, we always see an increase in applications after events.” ~ Ryan Holmes, HootSuite

9. Twitter

“We just put it out there, stating what we needed and were looking for on Twitter. We had a ton of people respond and narrowed it down from there. It was an immediate response rather than posting something to a job board and vetting candidates. Just be clear and upfront about what you’re looking for when you put anything out there, even if it’s an outsourcing job.” ~ Ashley Bodi, Business Beware

10. ZipRecruiter: Power in Aggregation

“A great job aggregation service we’ve found valuable to our business is ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter is a subscription website that allows you to post jobs on all of the free boards as well as paid sites such as Craigslist and gives your jobs maximum coverage. We’ve found some great candidates using this service.” ~ Warren Jolly, Affiliate Media Inc.

11. SmartRecruiters

“This software is free and allows you to post branded job pages to niche job boards and social media. It even offers a free applicant tracking system. Twitter is also a great resource because I’m connected to a lot of folks who might know someone great for the job.” ~ Heather Huhman, Come Recommended


Business Search Photo via Shutterstock

6 Comments ▼

The Young Entrepreneur Council


The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

6 Reactions

  1. I love #6 and if you know a professor it can be particularly effective since he/she can point out their top students that you could recruit directly.

  2. I had never considered putting out a job ad on twitter however that would be an amazing way to get the word out, Thanks!

  3. Great post! I think there is great validity in getting HELP from outside sources when you need it and only for the limited TIME you need it when you are just starting up. I also think there is great merit to looking to different sources for different things. Nice work! Thanx for this.

  4. Great article! I found Twitter to be the greatest base to find someone fast and talented. It spreads the word quickly, and the connection is almost immediate. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Another new startup created by engineers that connects startups with software engineers – Whitetruffle. :o)

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