From Startup to Unicorn: How to Find and Keep the Talent to Make It Happen

2 min read • Dec 06, 2017 • REYFYA

As a small business owner, your employees are the lifeblood of your company. But when bootstrapping a small business, you can’t always attract new talent with big salaries and promises of even bigger stock returns. As the professional landscape changes, millennials are becoming a larger and larger part of your hiring pool. These potential employees love the thrill of the chase, enjoy innovating and developing processes, and flourish in a tech-focused world. The challenge is how to recruit and retain these qualified candidates who will help guide your business to become the next business unicorn.

Unfortunately, the best and brightest minds are probably not looking at your job posting. Given the current employment rates in the U.S., most candidates are busily engaged in other jobs. This means you need to go out and proactively find qualified candidates. Here are four steps to help you get the attention of the workforce your small business needs.

  1. Reach out to candidates before you have an open position. As a quickly-growing business, you never know what position you’ll need to hire for next. You might as well start looking for accountants, software developers, and marketing professionals even before you have the need. This will drastically reduce your time to hire, and allow you to have people on the sidelines ready to join your team the second you have a vacancy.
  2. Text your job seekers. In this technologically advanced age, candidates can schedule and interview for a position while sitting at their current job and no one will be the wiser. If you want people to respond quickly, text them.
  3. Create a YouTube video selling your company. So you’ve been proactive and are now engaging with job seekers, but why should they care about your startup? Time to create a video (10-minutes or less) that talks about how awesome you are. Highlight your culture, recruiting process, compensation strategy, leadership philosophies, and unique benefits. This is a surefire way to pique their interests and leave them wanting to learn more about your company.
  4. Give a culture tour. After your candidates are intrigued to learn more, bring them into your office. Show them up-close the work you are doing. Let them see and experience the culture, energy, and fun firsthand. Invite them to play ping pong with some of your team members, and then end with an engaging conversation with the hiring manager. If done correctly, your potential hires will leave your office thinking, “I HAVE to work here.”

When your recruiting approach is focused on selling your company culture to your candidates, you’ll find your job seekers will often sell themselves to you. Creating an environment that is fun and conducive to innovation and teamwork could transform your company from a place to work 9 to 5 to an exciting, stimulating, and profitable, real-life unicorn. Now that’s magical.


Jared Olsen, REYFYA

Jared Olsen is the owner of REYFYA. Having made the transition from HR to the C-Suite, Jared has seen that the root cause of business success is cultural emphasis. His leadership philosophies have resulted in being selected as a CXO winner, and he has led his workplace to be one of the best places to work in Utah.