Networks are king
Ask any startup where most of their hires came from or ask bigger companies where their best people came from and the answer is usually the same: friends, friends of friends or ex-colleagues. It’s all about networks for one simple reason: good people know good people. Part of being a good CEO is building a great network with quality and reach. There are no short cuts here, it’s real work. The better your network is, the easier your next hire is going to be.
If you don’t know the right person you will at least know someone who does. Remember quality as well as quantity. It’s not just about having thousands of LinkedIn connections (although it can’t hurt). Are you working hard enough to be an authentic member of the community where your talent pool is? If your tech is built with Ruby are you taking part in the relevant meetups and hackathons? Are your developers known for their thought leadership and contribution in your sphere?
Hiring is everyone's job, especially sourcing
Just as you look for candidates through networks, the best candidates are looking for their next job in the same way. Word of mouth matters. The best recommendation you’re going to get will be when someone you’d like to hire is told by a friend of theirs who is already on your team that your startup is great place to work. If your team is proud of where they work they’ll tell their friends.
PRO TIP: Referral farming sessions. Get your team together and go through their networks one by one. Log in to LinkedIn and go through all connections -- when you see someone interesting you message them on the spot.
What happens when your own network runs out? Keep trying. There will always be someone you haven’t told that you’re hiring. You can go further, take the time to sit with your employees one by one and go through their online networks (LinkedIn is a good example). You’ll find good people and you can get your colleagues to message them then and there. This is a time-consuming process but worth it.
Get out of your bubble
Your own network can only extend so far and the chances are your colleagues’ networks have a lot of overlap with yours. Get out of your bubble and speak to new people, ask for introductions from your own network so you can start tapping into adjacent ones.
PRO TIP: Sending your developers to the best conferences is a sure fire way to grow your network.
How to do social the right way
If you’ve done most things right so far you’ll start with an audience. This means you have something to bootstrap your social media recruiting effort to. Using social for hiring isn’t just about tweeting jobs and getting your colleagues to retweet. The companies who are most successful at social hiring have built up a relevant audience and target their tweets to influential people in their community. Not all retweets were born equal -- you want to be talked about in context. You want influential people in your field talking you up as an authority.
PRO TIP: Netflix put their culture presentation online, it went viral and helped them build a highly attractive employer brand.