What’s talent hacking?

Spoiler alert: no, it’s not hacking computers to dig out talent.

Talent Hacking breaks away from all those traditional recruiting methods that you used to know (and it’s about time). It invests in technology to find top talent instead and uses unconventional tactics that most people wouldn’t even dream of, such as crowd referrals. Forget the spam, the cold calling, the boring job interviews, talent hacking is here to stay. It will help you become more successful in hiring the right people for your startup.

So, right after finding the right partners or co-founders for your startup (ideally with the help of 3 Day Startup) you need to focus on putting together a great team. That’s where Talent Hacking comes in. Every startup struggles with hiring and getting talented people that help you take your business to the next level. You don’t want this problem to slow you down so you need to get creative when reaching out to possible candidates and make sure you’ve got the perfect fit. No need to talk about recruiters here… They are time consuming and expensive, and they don’t always find you the right candidate anyways.

What hacks can you use?

First of all, take advantage of being a student. I know this might sound pretty obvious, but get to know more people. Attend networking events and join startup communities like 3 Day Startup. Pitching your startup has much more impact if done in person and if it’s done by the founders. So go ahead and use your persuasion skills to reach out to potential candidates. If you are hiring tech people though, it’s a whole different story.

Check out the local tech meetups and tag along. You might find the software developer you’ve been looking for or the UX designer your startup needs in one of these events. You can also use Gitter, which is a chat for Github, to help you connect with developers from your local JavaScript or Node.js (just to name a couple of hyped tech languages) community and from all over of the world. Another powerful hack is definitely taking full advantage from referrals. Why not ask around if your friends know anyone suited for the job? And why not ask people in your own team to refer their friends if they think they’re good enough? At JOBBOX.io we’ve been finding awesome tech people through friend referrals. Through our platform you can refer a friend for a tech job he or she will love and if your friend gets hired you get paid a reward! If you’re looking for top tech talent for your startup you should give it a try.

Another route is for you to get together with a few other startups (if you can’t do it on your own) and organize a Hackathon. This has been a common practice amongst startups and it’s super useful because you get to test candidates before committing to anything serious. Hackathons can be a whole lot of fun for the tech community and you’ll draw attention to your startup as well. Some cool ideas might come of these gatherings and challenges, so be bold and take a chance.

Further more, the traditional interview and resume process is largely a thing of the past so you need to think of other ways to make sure you’re making the right choice. You should definitely test candidates and set a challenge. Get them to join your office for a few days to see if there’s a culture fit and give them real tasks to test their skills. You can also try moonlighting and letting people work part-time until the right timing comes along and you’re both sure of this decision. We’ve done it at JOBBOX.io and it couldn’t have gone any better (we hired our own CTO through this moonlighting process).

Last, but definitely not least, if you think hiring tech people is like shooting in the dark because you don’t have a tech background, it’s time to change that too. You can find exceptional programming courses to help get your feet on the ground and know what to talk about when recruiting for tech. Talking about Ruby on Rails doesn’t necessarily have to be out of your league if you know where to learn it from. Give Makers Academy, General Assembly or Codecademy a go and take a programming course.

Of course, there is much more to look into, but that’s up to you now. Get creative in finding new hacks. All is good as long as you don’t turn into the dark side of recruiters, or trust exclusively in resumes and interviews. If you have any questions and if you’d like to discuss a bit more on this topic feel free to contact me. I’ll be more than glad to help out.

Guest post by Pedro Carmo Oliveira, Co-founder at JOBBOX.io