The success or failure of a startup often hinges on the team behind it. According to Dover, 23% of startups fail due to not having the right team.
As a startup founder, Dover co-founder and CEO Max Kolysh knows the importance of hiring the right team first hand. And through his work with Dover, he’s seen the challenges founders face at every stage of the startup recruitment and hiring lifecycle.
Dover is a recruiting platform that provides software, integrations, and services. Founded in 2019, the startup has helped 500+ companies hire top talent. In an interview with Founders Network, Max shared his tips for successful startup recruitment and hiring based on his work with these companies and his own experience as a startup founder.
Establish a Process
In the early stages, startups often rely on personal connections and referrals when hiring and often have an informal hiring process as a result. But Max says startups should take the time to establish a formal hiring process early on. This can help startups avoid costly mistakes, better evaluate candidates, and reduce implicit bias in the hiring process.
“For early stage companies, the company is kind of like your baby,” Max says. “As a founder you care so much about it and you feel like everything has to be perfect. When you’re hiring your first person, your emotions play a major role. You usually don’t have a formal process. But if you look at a FAANG company, the hiring process is much different. It’s like a machine.”
Relinquishing control is another issue many founders struggle with in the early stages. Founders often find themselves wanting to maintain control over every aspect of the recruitment and hiring process, but Max says it’s important to leave candidate sourcing to someone else.
“If you’re a founder, you don’t want to spend a ton of time sourcing yourself,” Max says. “The data doesn’t really lie. You can outsource sourcing to another person or to automated sourcing tools that do better by all metrics than a person. Founders are really hands-on. They want to do this themselves. But it’s really tedious. To use sourcing effectively, you probably need to source close to 500 to 1000 people. No founder is going to source 1000 candidates. You need to do sourcing to get the best talent, but you don’t need to do it yourself.”
While startup recruitment and hiring is often a numbers game, Max says startups run into problems when they focus solely on the top of their recruitment funnel.
“I think the top challenge startups face is misdiagnosing where the actual problems are,” Max says. “If they’re struggling with hiring they think it’s because they don’t have enough candidates. Everyone always says they need more at the top of the funnel, they need better candidates.”
Equally important is having a streamlined interview process and being able to land your pitch for why someone should join your company. Max says qualified candidates can fall through when they aren’t properly nurtured through the funnel.
“What I see all the time is companies have all these problems down-funnel but they’re trying to fix it with just numbers,” Max says. “A lot of people think, “I just need that perfect person to magically come in the door and then I’ll do a great job closing them.’”
For startups starting to scale their team or embarking on a hiring initiative, Max recommends investing in an Applicant Tracking System. An ATS can significantly improve the efficiency, organization, and effectiveness of the recruitment and hiring process. It’s particularly beneficial for managing high volumes of applicants, maintaining consistent hiring practices, and providing a positive experience for both candidates and the hiring team.
Dover offers a no-cost, comprehensive ATS tailored for startups seeking to establish a top-tier recruitment process and enhance candidate interactions. Unlike traditional ATS platforms designed solely for recruiters, Dover’s ATS is founder and hiring manager-friendly. The platform enables users to automatically prioritize applicants according to customized criteria and efficiently arrange candidate interviews. This free offering aligns with Dover’s mission to simplify and optimize recruitment processes.
“If you’re a startup, you probably don’t have a full-time recruiter. Most recruiting tools are built for recruiters or built for recruiting teams. A lot of those tools are not really built for startups,” Max says. “Our ATS is designed to be simple enough that a founder can use it. Most ATS are designed specifically for recruiters, but oftentimes it’s very scary for anybody else in the company to approach. Dover’s ATS is designed with that in mind.”
For more information about Dover’s ATS, check out the demo here.