Let’s Get Digital: Digital Recruitment and the Startup Enterprise


With the start up culture growing rapidly and tech startups in particular quickly becoming particularly prominent new businesses in the United Kingdom, digital talent is running in short supply. We look at how best to attract top talent as a start up, to bridge the gap and curate the best candidates.

Startup Statistics

Startups are becoming increasingly popular to work for as new generations of workers wish to become part of something new and innovative. Often starting with very few employees, the small companies with few members can grow from strength to strength quickly, and as soon as the product or service becomes such that the small team needs to grow, professionals such as ourselves come in – providing these companies with inexpensive ways to recruit talented staff.

In terms of technology startups, where the skills shortage is most noticeable, there are over 3,000 such start ups in East London alone. This equates to around 50,000 members of staff, however there are still around 2,700 digital jobs left to fill in this area.

Even offline startups often require IT and digital talent to cement their position online, making individuals from a tech background a fit for almost every business of this nature.

The fact that so many digital positions are still vacant is a good demonstration of the skills shortage within the start up community. Targeting talent in this area though and convincing people to join the little guy and make waves can be tough on a small budget. So how can newly formed startups recruit digital talent on the cheap?

Digital Recruitment and Tech Startups

Technology and IT startups will undoubtedly benefit from recruiting digital talent via digital methods. Reaching out to these candidates – passively or actively – in their native environment online, is one of the best ways to capture them. Couple that with the excitement of working with a startup and the possibility of being “the next big thing” and it’s likely you’re looking at an enticing proposition and a successful hire.

Top Tips for Startup Recruitment

Tech startups have an opportunity and freedom to utilise digital recruitment methods to target people in an interesting and innovative way. Below are a few ways to create buzz around your company and offer candidates something the bigger businesses do not.

1. Align the candidate’s goals with your own. Startups often do not have the funds to pay big salaries meaning they often need to provide a more existential offering to candidates as an alternative. It is important for talented individuals in the digital sector to know they are able to grow and excel within a company and have a direct influence on its future success. Being part of a growing and developing business is often a huge attraction for candidates who may otherwise be a cog in a much larger machine.

2. People tend to trust a founder. Startups also have the benefit of being able to communicate the nature of the business quite easily as it tends to be the founder with direct control over hiring. Rather than being put through their paces by an HR department, candidates for startups can be introduced to the business directly, going straight to the top.

3. Be clever with your job advertisement. There are innovative ways to advertise your job, particularly in the tech industry. There have been examples of companies successfully targeting top IT candidates by releasing their job advertisement in code, knowing that the ones who applied were dedicated enough to work it out!

4. Use a low cost digital recruitment agency. Ok, this is a plug, But with 10 years in digital, we are well-versed in the ever-changing technology and recruitment methods involved in sourcing talent for the Digital and IT professions. This means the chances of accurately targeting the right type of digital candidate improve greatly with our agency.

The skills gap may be a worry for people wanting to recruit in the technology and IT industry, but that is not to say that the right candidates aren’t out there. They must just be found using techniques that speak to them and do not cost the earth for the startup!