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3 Ways to Ignore Location for Better Startup Hiring

Human Resources

The economy might be less than stellar but the startup market is looking rosy. In fact, 83 percent of startups are planning on hiring in 2012, up ten percent from just two years ago. With startup hiring booming, companies are realizing the best candidates for their open positions might not be located right around the corner.

A good deal of tech startups are located in Silicon Valley, where investors are willing to take a chance on great ideas. While more startups are starting to move to the other coast, this still leaves a lot of real estate with great candidates in between. You don’t want to miss out on a superstar employee with the skills and creative ideas to take your startup to the next level.

Here are some ways you probably haven’t thought of before in which you can ignore great distances to find the best candidates for your startup:

Get Social
As a startup, you need a different type of employee. You need someone who can roll with the punches — and roll up their sleeves to do what’s needed to take your company to the next level. This is why, in addition to the “big three”, you might want to focus specifically on social media aimed at startup companies and candidates.

For instance, social site AngelList encourages talent to list the geographic areas where they would be willing to relocate. This makes it easy for your startup to find a great candidate willing to pack up and move into your office. Startup social network Sprouter, on the other hand, helps entrepreneurs share their knowledge — allowing you to interact directly with talent in your industry via the interwebs.

While the big traditional social media sites are important and shouldn’t be ignored, utilizing a startup social network might just nab you the candidates you need to build your business, regardless of their current home address.

Create Talent Communities
Creating a talent community is a great way of finding good candidates, regardless of location. A talent community is group of people with industry- or job-related skills you can tap into both online and off. Talent communities allow for greater communication between employers and job seekers, allowing for a more personal connection. There are plenty of places to create a talent community online, whether making a group on a social networking platform or just developing your website as a place for talent to converge and converse.

Knowing exactly the kind of candidate you’re looking for can be a big help when it comes to fully utilizing talent communities. Just because your office is in Silicon Valley or Manhattan doesn’t mean the programmer or marketing maven you need is located in the same place. In fact, some colleges are well known for turning out graduates with particularly strong entrepreneurial skill sets. Reach out to the career centers of these colleges — and others that offer strong programs in the areas you’re seeking — and explain the kind of candidate you’re looking to hire. These candidates will not only be eager to start on their career path with your company, but also they’ll be more willing to relocate for a great position.

Clean Up Hiring Your Process
The reason many companies shy away from out of town candidates is because they don’t want to sink time and money into a candidate who won’t relocate for the job — or who gets homesick shortly after relocation. However, what companies should really be concerned about is making their hiring process more efficient so they don’t waste time moving a candidate who is all wrong for the company in the first place.

Here are a few simple tips to start cleaning up your process:

  • Write better job descriptions: If your job descriptions aren’t reflecting the reality of the position, the industry, and your company, the right candidates won’t be applying. There are always the non-negotiables when it comes to hiring for a specific position. Make sure everyone agrees what those skills, qualifications, and/or experience levels are before pressing “publish”.
  • Get everyone on the same page: It’s important the whole team knows what you’re looking for and are involved as much as possible in the process, especially in startup hiring. Get team members together to discuss the timeframe for hiring, the benefits your organization offers, and the most important questions you’ll need answered.
  • Make interviewing easier: This could mean putting a candidate on a conference call with the whole team so decisions can be made faster. It could also mean using online video interviewing in order to see a far away candidate before (or instead of) paying for airfare. I have a vested interest here, since I founded video interviewing company Spark Hire, but using video interviews can help startups shorten their interviewing process by helping them evaluate far flung candidates in a more personal way than phone screens.

Startups need the best people to help the company grow and find success. These candidates aren’t always in the company’s backyard, which means startups need to find ways to ignore location in order to hire the best people.

What are some ways startup companies can find the best candidates from far away places? Share in the comments!

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