When you’re a startup and don’t have a budget

Hiring top talent and the experienced professionals you need when you are a small company is hard.  It’s also hard to really stand out in this candidate-driven market when you don’t have a big recruiting budget.  Let’s face it – you can’t foot the bill for weekend house hunting trips, 4-star hotels and team dinners to court your next hire.  Every dollar is precious!

But there are some simple ways to go the distance for a candidate to make sure they know you want them on your team.

1. Set the agenda in advance

Make sure your candidate gets the interview schedule, directions to the office, check-in instructions and title/position for each interviewer in advance.  Then, on the day of the interview, print a copy of the day’s agenda, along with any supporting information about the company, benefits and other great information about what makes your team great. Present it to the candidate when they arrive and include a notepad and pen for notes.  Start the interview with a tour of your facility to help put them at ease.

2. Pick them up at the airport

This is a great way to get some casual time with your candidate. If you don’t have time to pick them up, send a team member – or someone on the sales team.  Make sure whomever they are making the trip with is a fan and will help set you up for success in the interview.

3. Include a breakfast or lunch as part of the interview

Having a meal together as a team is a great way to let the candidate see, feel and experience what it would be like as a member of this group. Select a restaurant with a good menu and one that’s gender neutral – no BBQ or breweries.  The menu should have Gluten free, vegetarian and healthy selections.  This delivers a subliminal message that you care about your team and their health.

4. Give a product tour

If you are a product company, make time during the interview day to give the candidate a behind-the-scenes tour of your product suite.  What better way to help them feel special than to let them see what you’re really all about?  Share the product roadmap and plans for the future – ask for their input.

5. Don’t rush the day

There is nothing that says “you are just another interview,” more than 30 minute back-to-back interviews for four hours.  Make time for breaks, idle chat and the opportunity to regroup during the day.  Your candidate will feel honored and respected – and you will reap the benefits!

6. Plan your follow up

At the conclusion of the interview, make sure your hiring manager closes out the day with your candidate.  This should include a commitment for follow up and next steps.  Be honest and authentic.  If you have two more weeks of interviews, then let the candidate know.  And if you say you’ll follow up by a certain date, then make sure you do it.

Finally, I firmly believe that when you meet with a candidate in person then you are obliged to phone the candidate personally if they are not selected.  There is NOTHING worse than getting an impersonal email from HR after an onsite interview.  After all, you will want the candidate to feel good about your company whether they are hired or not – right?  For more thoughts on how to deliver an outstanding candidate experience visit us here!