7 Ways to Attract Candidates Like a Silicon Valley Startup

It seems like every day I read a news story about a tech startup in Silicon Valley that receives millions of dollars in funding and given that I got my start at a startup (See what I did there?) I have a great appreciation for the startup mentality and all of the things that happen when funding comes in and it’s time to start hiring at rapid-fire.


With so many Silicon Valley companies setting trends when it comes to office layouts, benefits, and meeting philosophies, it’s only natural that organizations across the country want to replicate their processes when it comes to hiring as well. With 64% of Silicon Valley CEOs planning to hire this year all eyes will be on South Bay.

So what can we learn from these scrappy startups as they continue to set trends in the workplace?

Make the Best of Your Location…

Silicon Valley (and, for that matter, most of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose) is the center of tech startups because there’s a hotbed of talent—because that’s where many of the top companies are—because that’s where the VC money is—because that’s where the companies are—it’s a vicious cycle—you get the point.

While there’s so much great talent in the bay area, that’s not to say there isn’t talent to be found near you—you just might have to work harder to find it.

  • Attend job fairs and be aggressive about recruiting the most qualified candidates.
  • Focus on what you do have. Does the area in which you recruit have a low cost of living? Great nightlife? Great educational system? Work with your chamber of commerce and labor board to make the most of where you are.

…But Look Around the World

The best Silicon Valley companies know they’re good enough to lure talent from anywhere, and if you want to hire like one of these companies, you should think that way too. Startups gunning for the best of the best wouldn’t let location hold them back when it comes to hiring, so why should you? Expand your reach by looking for candidates from both inside and outside the United States. If you have the ability to hire remote workers or to relocate people—the world is your oyster.

Ask a Friend

If you’re still having trouble finding good talent in your area, it doesn’t hurt to ask the people who already work for you. Between 30 and 50% of all hires in the United States come from referrals, and offering a small bounty for anyone who brings in a qualified friend will work wonders to motivate employees to help with the hiring process. Use tools that help your employees get the word out on social networks, and improve job postings by making them easily sharable.

Relocate to Silicon Valley

Want to recruit like a Silicon Valley company? Then become one by moving there. People up and move there for work all the time, so what’s not to say that you can’t too? There are a lot of positives to living there, however that doesn’t make it perfect. So keep in mind that it’s a notoriously expensive place to live with cost of living roughly 60% higher than the national average.

Hire Remotely

If you can’t afford to relocate yourself or relocate that promising candidate from Silicon Valley or around the world, then you may have to get comfortable with having a few remote workers. With the aforementioned rising costs of living in the tech hub of the world, more startups are looking for remote workers too. If you’re worried off-site employees may not be as good as those in your office, don’t be; remote workers are actually more productive and have a higher retention rate. Be sure to let prospective candidates know up front that telecommuting is an option.

Promote Your Culture

Many of the big tech companies promote their lavish perks, ergonomic chairs and great culture. As a small company that may not be able to offer the first two, you can still promote the last bit in your job advertisements and interviews. You may not have a “lax, laid-back culture,” but you can emphasize the increased importance a new hire will have at your company based on its size (and the less rigid culture that comes from working with fewer people). And if you can build a culture that makes people want to work for you, you’re likely to lower employee turnover by 35%.

Want to infuse some corporate culture into your recruitment strategy? Set up a new email address for the office, and encourage employees to take photos of company events or daily office life with their phones and send them to the address. It’s an inexpensive and fun way to get your employees involved, and you’ll have tons of company photos on file for when you want to create a compelling job ad that promotes your culture.

Foster Talent Communities

One of the best ways to decrease the time to hire is to have a pool of talent you can look to whenever you have an opening. Startup companies are realizing this, and have a steady pool of candidates they can tap into whenever a new position opens up. There are several other reasons you should begin fostering talent communities, but faster hiring seems like a good enough reason to start. If you can’t start your own talent community, support one that already exists in your community. Sponsor a meetup, support a scholarship at a local college or offer classes in a specific skill right in your office.

You may not have the perks or the cash of a Silicon Valley startup, but there’s no reason you can’t hire like one.

Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.

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