For the first seven years as an entrepreneur I stayed as far away from recruiters as I could. My thinking was that I could find the talent I needed on the open market via word of mouth referrals, Craigslist, etc. More importantly, I thought that people that used recruiters to find jobs were only focused on money, and would promptly move on when another recruiter came along with a better offer. I was wrong.
Recruiters are great for startups when used properly.
The most important thing I didn’t understand with respect to using recruiters has nothing to do with recruiters. It’s entirely about corporate culture. With a strong corporate culture, and associated values, team members can come from anywhere, including recruiters. Recruiters need to understand your corporate culture, your values, and what makes your startup unique. Just like the hiring process internally, each candidate that’s vetted from a recruiter needs feedback given to the recruiter to understand what aspects of the person fit the culture and what aspects didn’t. There’s no right or wrong type of corporate culture. What’s important is that it’s consistent, understood, and strong. Recruiters are an important part of the startup eco-system and should understand your corporate culture.
What else? What are some other thoughts on recruiters and startups?