BY MICHAEL OVERELL
In the startup community, we’re seeing a parade of underdog disruptors trying to change the way people work and live. And while we as consumers benefit from disruptive innovation and the competition it brings, we also love to see startups supporting one another.
I’ve been studying and working in recruitment technology for five years. It’s a crowded space, but one that’s ripe with innovation. There have been many giant acquisitions and funding plays made in recruiting: LinkedIn bought Bright.com and Connectifier, HireVue has received $92 million, LinkedIn itself was acquired by Microsoft for $26 billion. The list goes on.
Most of the big plays are made for disruptive enterprise solutions. These companies and investors are hoping to become, or be acquired by, the next SAP, Salesforce or LinkedIn. But the startup and independent (“free agent”) communities have also been touched by rapid innovation — making capabilities once reserved for large corporates now available to the little guys.
The space is crowded because hiring is the No. 1 challenge for almost every startup founder I meet. Your ability to attract, select and retain the best talent will make or break your company. Startup founders in particular are constantly looking for an edge in building a better and more efficient hiring process. One benefit we have as startups, compared to our incumbent competitors, is the ability to quickly experiment with different tools and processes that can give us that edge.
But the list of free and affordable tools promising to “change recruiting” can be daunting. How do you know which tools are worth your time? After exploring many of these tools myself, I put together my top-five list of free tools that can help give you an instant edge.
This lightweight applicant tracking system (ATS) has a usable interface and a freemium tier. Many startups are too lean or small to need a full-blown ATS, but are familiar with productivity tools like Trello and Asana. I know many startups who love the visual workflow of Breezy, which is built specifically around the recruiting workflow.
Textio can help you find out if your job listing is in line with best practices. The tool tells you how your job description will stack up as fast as you can type it. I was talking to an HR rep recently who, along with a thousand other duties, is responsible for hiring. She recommended this tool as a practical way to quickly improve the job descriptions she was writing, especially since this wasn’t her full-time focus.
This Google Chrome extension — which is still in beta — will show you the most likely email combination for a candidate based on their name, company, and other social data across the most popular social networking sites. We’ve seen great value using Prophet internally in our company to identify email addresses for people we want to email (and not just prospective candidates). In hard-to-fill roles, passive candidate outreach can be the only way to find great potential talent, and tools like this are a massive help.
Calendly lets you create a simple page for candidates to schedule interviews and meetings at a time that suits both of you. Most folks in our company use this to save a time in the back-and-forth scheduling process.
We’ve found that MixMax helps us get more out of our email inbox, as it offers analytics on who opens emails when, lets us schedule emails for later, and can send us reminders to follow up. The reminders are a great feature for recruiting; we’ve found that most prospective candidates only reply on the second or third follow-up.
The list goes on, but these are five of my current recommendations for other startup founders.
As a startup founder, at least a third of your job should be focused on attracting and retaining the best talent. You should design your hiring process with the same care and attention you do your sales process. Test and invest in tools and technology, but remember that the best tools in the world won’t magically find you the best talent. This list of recommendations can change the way you hire, but you still have to put in the work.
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