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“I’ve seen so many start-ups run into difficulty further down the line because the founders had just brought on people they know or have met by chance. The first few people you hire can set the tone for the rest of the business’ lifecycle; I cannot stress how important it is to get this right.”

That’s what Frank Thiel, CEO and Founder at Kolvenier Solutions, and advisor and mentor to many start-up organisations, told us when we asked him why start-ups should be working with recruiters. 

“It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you don’t have the right people in place,” he added. “Once a business gets its Series B funding, it has made a commitment to grow and develop, and making the right hires at this stage is absolutely vital.”

We’ve worked with a number of start-ups at different stages of their development, and we know how difficult it can be for companies to delegate key business activities to external companies. But just as there are benefits to employing an outer legal or financial function, working with a specialist recruiter can help your business to grow, and give you an edge over the competition.

Working current trends to your advantage

There are two trends happening concurrently at the moment which make it a great time for start-ups to focus their attention on hiring. The first is caused by the lockdown restrictions put in place in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Many large organisations who would traditionally have their pick of the best candidates have imposed a hiring freeze while they wait out any potential economic downturn or threat to their supply and demand. This means that talent pools which, until recently, had been incredibly competitive, now have fewer employers vying for attention, putting those who are in a position to continue hiring at a serious advantage.

The other trend, which many start-ups may not be aware of, is that there is a real desire within candidates to work with smaller and up and coming organisations. In the semiconductor industry, particularly, talented individuals are realising that by working with start-ups and SMEs they can have a bigger influence and be involved with many more innovative projects.

Specialist recruiters spend their working lives immersing themselves in their markets. This provides us with a unique viewpoint and allows us to connect dots and spot trends within industries. When choosing to work with a recruiter, ask them what they know about your organisation, industry and competitors – this will help to determine if you are working with a true specialist.

Help with employer branding

Recruitment is more than placing candidates in new roles. An expert recruitment consultant will be able to advise you on hiring strategy and employer branding, as well as onboarding your new starter. Employer branding is particularly important for start-ups, who, unlike the industry giants, cannot yet rely on an established reputation. We’ve mentioned already that candidates increasingly want to work with smaller organisations, but it can be difficult to find these roles when set against the noise of bigger businesses.

This is where recruiters can help. By introducing you to their networks in a positive way, you’ll be on the radar of candidates before they ever see your advertised positions. Specialist recruiters can also help you to build your employer brand through events, advertising, social media and more, so that you can begin to build a talent pool of candidates who not only want to work for you, but promote you within their networks too. The number one way that candidates find a new role is through referral, so it’s vital that you grow networks so that they can work in your favour. And the best way to get instant access to important networks is via expert recruiters.

In a hyper-competitive talent market, all organisations need to invest in their employee branding. This can be overwhelming for start-ups and SMEs who have several other priorities to consider, and who often need people to join their businesses as quickly as possible. Recruitment really is a full-time job, but by working with a specialist consultant you can make sure it doesn’t take up more of your precious time and resources than it has to.

A long-term partnership

Forming an early relationship with a specialist recruiter can pay dividends in the future. Our consultants are not just here to fill the early positions you have, they can help you to create a long-term hiring strategy, enabling you to hire the right candidates at the right time. We’ll make sure that the people you bring into your organisation add value, advising and challenging your hiring managers on the best individuals to employ.

The most successful placements happen when a consultant knows the industry you’re operating in and is familiar with your organisation. We can be there from the beginning, to help and watch you grow, learning along with you and adapting to your changing needs. By forming relationships with the right expert recruiters, start-ups can gain a huge edge over their competition, and lay the foundations for future success.


MRL have recruited for the niche high technology and finance markets for more than two decades, working with organisations of all sizes. For more information on how we can help your start-up, please get in touch.

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