How to hire great people for your startup — attracting and sourcing Candidates

Bjørn Andersen
Recruitment process

Hiring great people is not an easy task, and hiring can make or break your startup. It has never been more difficult to hire great candidates than now, and it takes a focused and strong effort to succeed.

The majority of the candidates you are looking to hire already have a job and feel well compensated, so the first thing you want to do, is to create a compelling narrative about your startup is a great place to grow.


It goes without saying that you’re on a glorious and exciting journey that will transform the world — or at least put a severe dent in it, but is the value you create clear to candidates? Are you funded or do you already have a substantial revenue stream? How are the founding team and C-level team?

Home-baked cookies every Tuesday, a running club, and a nice office is great— but do you really set yourselves apart from competitors? And have you given any real thought to how you attract candidates?


This is what recruitment companies sometimes call “Search and Selection” — you either source and reach out to relevant candidates (Search), or you post your job somewhere and hope the right candidates choose to apply (Selection). Both can be the right choice — sometimes combined, sometimes on their own, or during different phases of your growth.

Here’s an overview:

Search / outbound hiring strategy

Search/sourcing candidates is a great method for when you know, that you are in a competitive market, and that you are looking for a very specific and in-demand skillset.

It’s the go-to for most founders out there, when they start building the initial team, and a great way of getting the first hires on board.

Most founders worked in one or more startups / companies before they decided to found their own startup. They have met and/or worked with some very skilled individuals in the past, and they often have a strong understanding of the potential chemistry and culture fit of those individuals.

I highly recommend that you start there — map your network, reach out to skilled and high-performing individuals and get some of these individuals on board to build your core team. It’s fast, efficient and low-cost.

However — sooner or later you will have depleted your immediate network, which means you will most likely have to spend a lot more time (and money) on sourcing candidates on Linkedin, Github, meetups etc. The time you could have (and maybe even should have) spent on building your product, selling your product, or getting funding, is now spent on recruitment.

A great recruitment agency that specializes in startups might be able to help you hire the candidates you need to reach your objectives — build your product, sell your product, expand into a new market, and manage your engineering team or your finances. (Hint — Advenio specializes in startups, scaleups, VC’s and corporate startups).

The narrative you or your recruitment agency share will make a huge difference here — is it bland and generic, or is it strong enough to attract kick-ass candidates to your team?

Selection / inbound hiring strategy

Another go-to for most startup founders is an inbound hiring strategy posting jobs on their own site or on job boards.

It’s a great way of doing employer branding and getting you and your vacancies out there, but it is rarely strong enough as a channel to stand alone. But if you can cover 10–25 % of your hires using inbound, that’s a great start.

(Funded) startups and great job opportunities are abundant right now, and skilled candidates mostly have lots of options. If you plan on using an inbound hiring strategy to cover a large portion of your hires, you should be prepared to use multiple channels and platforms.

You should also ask yourself questions like:

Is it feasible to only hire locally?

Can you find global candidates you can relocate? Where? And what would be the cost involved?

Should you consider remote resources?

Or consider creating a new location in the same time zone, where it’s easier (and perhaps cheaper) to hire an engineering team? As an example, we often use Portugal as a location for engineering hubs, which is why we have a presence there.

Choosing the right strategy for growing your team, is a great first step. It is still not going to be easy, but as Aristotle once said:

“Well begun is half done.”

Insight by Bjørn Andersen

Bjørn Andersen
CEO & Founder
+45 31 54 70 40