The Anti-Blog: What Not To Do When Recruiting

Published on Thursday, February 01, 2018


Our new series will provide some wisdom on common traps and misconceptions on a variety of topics. In our January issue, we are getting the lowdown from our Recruiter-in-Residence, Tim Swanson. In our feature of Tim last month, Tim’s extensive experience in tech recruitment is the perfect person we want to kick off our blog.

Our what-not-to-do blog. Our anti-blog.

1. Do not just post a job ad: do more and do things differently

Tim: For every startups, every hire is crucial so it requires more than just posting an ad. It’s about developing new relationships that you have to foster and you may find Instagram is a better job board for developing relationships than Indeed. Also, use your job description to explain what you are trying to accomplish, versus what you need. For example, you may need a software developer, but the huge accomplishment awaiting them is launch your beta version by the end of the year. Communicate that.

2. Do not undervalue the importance of a candidate’s ability to communicate.

Tim: With every tech startup, obviously you want to hire people for technical skills, but many neglect to emphasize the ability to communicate. People who are good communicators tend to be faster learners and if you invest in them, they will be more likely to stick with your company. Most importantly, do not consider grammar a measurement; effective communication uses more than words. Critical to a startup is the ability of the team to articulate in your customer’s language – from the junior developer to the CEO.  It doesn’t matter how much IP you have, if you can’t communicate it, you won’t survive.

3. Do not simply set your company culture to one of being happiness-oriented.

Tim: While a wonderful corporate culture is definitely important, you want to be attracting people that want more than just fun foosball tables. The culture you want to be setting is one that is achievement-oriented and attracts people that want to accomplish big society advancing initiatives through your company’s mission. Some skills are in such high-demand, that you can’t rely on your talent to stay for more than 12-18 months. Stock options might be a great incentive but it depends on the role and motivation. For someone in a sales role, you want to keep them focused, so commission may work better than offering stock options.

4. Do not measure experience in years

Tim: Listing a minimum amount of experience is a trap. A person can learn a lot in a two years or next to nothing over 10 years. Think differently and hire 10 years’ worth of wisdom without prejudging how long it takes to accumulate it.