People Ops Question: How do we compete for talent in such a competitive market?

Oct 30, 2018 · 2 min read

By Sabrina Kelly, Techstars Vice President of People Operations

At Techstars, we define our mission in People Ops as the following: “We are strategic partners in building Techstars business by maximizing the value of our most important asset — our people. We attract, retain, develop, and support Techstars employees globally and aim to uphold our culture and values, in a manner that is inclusive to all.”

As VP of People Ops, I hear a lot of questions from founders. This series aims to answer the most frequent questions.

Q: How do we compete for talent in such a competitive market?

This is a big one and there’s no easy solution. My best advice is to be very thoughtful about what differentiates you as a company and think about what gets you out of bed every morning.

It takes a certain kind of person to join a startup — and they should know what they’re in for. It’s going to be fast-paced, generally super chaotic, likely not highly paid for long hours in comparison to established companies, but the right person will love it because they believe in the mission and the people working on it by their side.

Hire those people, set those expectations, and don’t sacrifice on belief in the vision.

In order to attract those people, you need to get aligned with your leadership team on what makes your company great and why the problem you’re solving is more interesting than the problem the other five startups sitting next to you at WeWork are solving. Make sure that everyone on your interview panel is sending the very same message about who you are, why it’s awesome, and what it is you care about in the people and the role you’re hiring for.

Once you have that, get out there. Attend events, promote your company through local startup marketing, speak on Startup Week panels, ask everyone on your leadership team to dedicate one hour a week to making sure that talent in your market knows about you. Lastly, see above on that recruiting hire. You’ll know it’s time when interviewing becomes your second job, and you know you have the runway for multiple hires over the next 12 months.


Want to #DoMoreFaster? Apply to a Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator today.


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