How Can a Startup Recruiter Help Your Company?

Startup recruiters are specialists who match tech startups with skilled and capable job candidates. Unlike traditional HR teams, startup recruiters occupy more of a niche role, since the startup world can often be more intense than the world of established companies. With startups, the margin for error is very small. The pace is usually lightning fast, and the roles are often more nebulous, since new companies are often finding their footing and learning as they go.

Most startups don’t have the budget or staff to fill an HR position, let alone a department. In these cases, hiring a startup recruiter to help fill crucial roles in the company can be well worth the investment. The filling of these roles is often necessary when a startup begins to scale or if a C-suite executive leaves. While the remaining leaders can try to fill the open position themselves, there are many reasons why hiring a startup recruiter is worthwhile.

Gil Smolinski — Startup headhunters

Why Hire a Startup Recruiter?

Startup recruiters are specialists who focus solely on the area of hiring. Founders, managers, or CEOs of startups are usually busy dealing with funding, budgeting, product development and so much more. A recruiter, on the other hand, only has one thing to focus on: finding the right candidates. And with a recruiter on the payroll, startup leaders can have more time to focus on the other important aspects of company management.

Additionally, recruiters often have networks of high-quality candidates to which startup leaders don’t have access. The good ones know the top candidates by name, what they’re up to, and whether they would be a good fit for your company.

While hiring a startup recruiter comes with several benefits, there are also several reasons why startups don’t go that route. First, some startup founders don’t even know that such a thing exists. They’ve heard of traditional HR employees and don’t have the budget for them during early stages of development. Outsourcing startup recruitment isn’t something that has necessarily crossed their radars.

Even if startup founders are aware of such recruiters, they may be hesitant to hire one for two reasons: they may think the cost is too high or they want to maintain a certain level of privacy around their company.

For those who fear the cost of a startup recruiter, including this expense in the budget might be the best move they make. The cost of hiring the wrong employee can be much greater than the cost of hiring a recruiter. For those who worry about privacy, the best recruiters tend to work by word of mouth and wouldn’t risk revealing information about clients.

Gil Smolinski — Startup recruiters

What to Look for in a Recruiter

If you’ve decided that the benefits of hiring a recruiter are worth the cost, it’s important to know what to look for. As mentioned above, you need someone who will respect your startup’s privacy and who will be willing to sign on it. This would be obvious to any top recruiter, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Another important thing to look for in a recruiter is a specific area of expertise. A recruiter can boast that they focus on C-suite hires, but that’s not as specific as it sounds. On the other hand, a recruiter who focuses only on CTOs or specific VPs has more to offer. Whatever position you’re trying to fill, try finding a recruiter who focuses only on that position.

A good recruiter won’t only help a startup find top candidates, but it will also help the company define its job roles. In startups, CEOs and founders often find themselves performing all sorts of jobs. If a startup is expanding and needs to fill a new position, a good recruiter can help company leaders decide what responsibilities will stay in their hands and which will go to the new hire.

The Cost of Hiring a Startup Recruiter

Hiring a recruiter should be looked at as an investment, and it’s certainly not a small one. Recruiters can work exclusively for your startup, in which you pay a flat fee in the area of $100,000 for a C-suite hire. The other option is for recruiters to work on contingency, in which they only get paid if you hire one of their candidates. The cost is usually 25% of the annual compensation.

Many startups opt for the second option due to a lack of cash flow, but the first option is usually better. A recruiter who works as an exclusive consultant will have more time to dedicate to your startup, and the results will likely reflect that. Remember that even though the expense is high, the ROI usually justifies it.




Angel investor, entrepreneur, professional diver and passionate cook. My Medium blog in Russian:

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Gil Smolinski

Gil Smolinski

Angel investor, entrepreneur, professional diver and passionate cook. My Medium blog in Russian:

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