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 min read

The Most Successful Recruitment Strategies for Startups


Pull up a seat, get comfy, and strap in for the ride as we dive through some of the most pragmatic, and downright successful recruitment strategies that you can do, paying close attention to how they could be used to build your tech team and benefit your business.


Do you know the idiom ‘softly, softly, catchy monkey’? The essence of this phrase is to try and capture a target without startling it, in which case it might run away. Taking the approach of being the world’s nicest employers falls into a similar category; you will try to almost befriend the applicant so that they feel comfortable and familiar in your working environment. If you can do that, you’ve won them over.


  1. Call them and invite them to an interview personally and arrange a convenient time for both parties, as opposed to sending a boring template email along the lines of ‘you have passed the application stage, here is your interview date’...
  2. Give them an informal tour of the facilities, not only does this make them relax into their surroundings, but it also shows that people have pride and respect for the workplace. The recruiter can also use this as an opportunity to get to know the interviewee in a more relaxed setting.
  3. Remember that an interview is a two-way process and that the interviewee should be given ample time to think of their own questions. This helps to build trust and transparency.
  4. Impress them without overwhelming them. Give them some of the highlights of the business and link the business mission into the job role and how it important it is for business growth or operations. This should give the applicant an opportunity to can even correlate the needs of the business with their experiences and achievements, allowing them to sell themselves the role.

Overall, simply make them feel they are being treated in a very human and personal way. An interview is not just about an employer picking a new employee, the new employee also has to pick the employer. How you treat the applicant will either reflect well or badly on the company as a whole.


Startups often face challenges relating to money, managing the costs of rent, talent, growth, marketing, advertising, and more. There’s also the challenge of locality, and whether the right talent exists in the right price in the area. Often enough, the talent is not there.

The remote work movement has grown enormously over the last few years, with mobile technologies and data enabling millions to unplug their laptops and work on the move. What’s important to see here is that freelancers are not just a short-term fix, they can be long-term solutions that bring a wealth of experience and value to a team at a perhaps lower or negotiable price* . Freelancers are not stop-gap solutions, they are a quality fit for the job without being tied by geographical limitations. As successful recruitment strategies go, hiring the right talent as a freelancer is one of the best things you can do.

*In regard to bringing on a freelancer as a full-time member of your team, there is now a tax regulation in place called IR35. Under the new system, contractors are no longer liable for determining their tax status, instead, that responsibility goes to the client. This will have a dramatic effect on many contractors and freelancers (especially those from agencies) who fall inside the terms of IR35, meaning the contract market will develop and reshape. Because of the changes, it is expected that many people will take up permanent jobs to improve their tax situation. Read more about IR35 here.


Whilst some professionals thrive in established businesses and look to climb the rungs, it’s the professionals that enjoy SMEs, new ventures, innovative startups, and sinking their teeth into fledgeling businesses that you should look for. These people can sniff out a good idea and feel that they can make a sizeable contribution through their work Who better to have on your team?

Consider asking applicants to list or describe any previous experience that they have with startups, as true startup professionals will be self-aware of their expertise and will want to sell themselves on the skills they’ve earned. To gain an advantage over other applicants, ask candidates how they’ve helped propel a startup forward, what actions they took to get those results, and how that company grew in size and stature thanks to their efforts.


Your social media says everything about you, your company culture, and what a prospective employee could experience by working at your startup. If your Twitter hasn’t been updated in 6 months, your Instagram looks messy, and your Facebook page has no human element, what sort of impression is that giving applicants?

At the other end of the social media spectrum, a super-active and charged up social media profile is going to attract talent and applications and actively make people want to know more, talk more, and work harder. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but clout is clout. Posting a job advert directly to your social media accounts might attract exactly the right applicants.


What all of these points have in common is company culture, and that your recruitment strategy must embody your principles as a business. Here at Few&Far, two of our main cultural principles are to build a community and do an amazing job at understanding the industry we work in. We’ve found that mastering these two aspects of the business has made us a likeable expert and put us in a very strong position.

For the team here, culture is about ensuring that people are happy in their roles, and feel motivated and driven to pursue the collective company vision. It’s not about Friday beers or ping pong at lunch, it’s about working together, solving issues, struggling together and celebrating together as a unit.

Throughout this piece, we’ve tried to touch on some key concepts:

  • Making the applicant feel comfortable will allow them to act naturally
  • You don’t need to do things the old-fashioned way - be creative with your interview process because it says a lot about you and your startup company’s style
  • Don’t be afraid to hire freelancers and remote workers, they offer talent and experience
  • Startup experience is invaluable and those with a lot of it are gold, but they must be able to recognise how and why they are effective
  • Social media is a mirror into your company culture, don’t forget that. It’s much easier for applicants to find you than it is for you to find them!

Discover how Few&Far can help your startup recruit the best talent on our dedicated page for businesses. As opposed to many of our competitors, we are an end-to-end solution specialising in product, design, engineering & data, that consults with our customers to help them stand out and recruit and keep the best talent for longer.

We don’t just find the best talent; we know them and have an ongoing relationship with them.

With all of that in mind, good luck out there recruiting!

Nick Charalambous