How to Recruit New Staff for Your Start-Up

At Mantle, one of the best parts of our work is having so many start-up companies as clients. We enjoy learning from their experiences. Today we are talking about the unique challenges of recruiting for a start-up.

As a start-up company, there will eventually come a time when you need to expand your workforce. You will be used to working alone, possibly with trusted long-time contacts, or even just family and friends, so it can be daunting to take on an unfamiliar face. You need someone who understands your business and whom you can trust to get things done.  Where do you start?

  • Create a Job Outline 

The basics are the hours to be worked, the education or skill level needed and the essentials of what the job entails. In a small company, it is not always that easy to work out what role the newcomer will fulfil, so devote time to making a likely list of responsibilities and tasks. If you need the role to be a flexible one that develops over time, state that specifically.

  • Ask Around 

It’s often suggested to ‘hire internally’, but if you run a one-person company this is not going to be an option for you! However, you do have friends and family, so network and find out if anyone knows a suitable person. That way, although you may not be able to guarantee the quality of their work, you will at least be recruiting someone whose character and work ethic has been vouched for, and there will be a third party with a vested interest in encouraging them to do a great job for you.

  • Utilise Apprentices 

The government’s apprentice scheme has not had as much take-up as it deserves, but we take on apprentices and heartily recommend it! Investigate at:  Firstly, you must be sure that the job you’re offering would be appropriate for a younger person; that you are able and have the time to offer some training; that you can commit to them for at least a year (apprenticeships vary between one and four years); and that your company has the flexibility to give the apprentice a day off a week at college. If so, then this can be an incredibly cost-effective way to hire staff. As this is considered a training scheme rather than a typical job, the rates of pay are below minimum wage (although of course, you may pay more if you wish- something to review as you assess your apprentice’s progress?). An apprentice who is loyal to you can provide years of dedicated support if they turn out to be a good fit for your business.

  • Use Social Media  

By all means, use job boards, recruitment agencies and local advertising- certainly tried and tested!  However, our top tip would be to start off posting the vacancy on your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as your own website page. It’s a completely free way to spread the word at the time when your business is unlikely to have a lot to spend. As well as saving on recruitment agency or advertising fees, consider the effort that goes into searching for a job by these methods – as a result, you are likely to attract the more enterprising candidates. If your vacancy does not need to be urgently filled, start posting the job details regularly on social media to test out how effective this is at attracting interest. You can keep the details as specific or as vague as you like. You do risk attracting interest from recruiters too but this is easily dealt with if you prefer not to engage their services- you’re the boss!

  • Check References  

It can seem a pain to follow up references if you are a small business with little resource, but it is vital. Don’t waste time checking references until you have interviewed a candidate and are keen on offering them the job. Ask for permission to call the referee and then speak to them to confirm the relevant skills, as well as the attitude of the candidate to work. Think carefully about the questions you ask and think if the qualities the referee praises are even relevant to your very small workforce. It’s more important to ask about enterprise, initiative and the ability to work alone,  as you will not be able to offer a big support structure or as much ‘hand-holding’ as a bigger company. A candidate who is known to enjoy a challenge will be a great asset for any start-up.

At Mantle, we support apprentices (having recruited a good few ourselves!). To discuss our great experiences with them, or any other aspect of this article, email us at or tweet us at Our LinkedIn account is at Mantle Ltd . 


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.