Rina Lee HR Consulting

Startups should always consider a retained talent partner


​Are you a founder of a startup looking to hire a superstar? Will this hire be a key factor in securing your next round of funding or help elevate the company to the next phase?

There have been many articles on the benefits of using retainer when it comes to hiring senior or hard to find roles. In the recent years I have partnered with number of startups (Seed, Series A & B) to recruit crucial roles and through this experience I have realised that it is necessary and important for startups to have a dedicated recruitment or talent partner to solve their talent needs- and it is the most cost/ time efficient way.

A Tough Sell

If your company is a new brand in the market, with new product, new offering, it takes time and effort to educate potential candidates, to get them interested. Compared to companies like Facebook, Grab, Google where the brands are highly recognisable, admired and have extremely high talent attraction rate, it takes a lot more effort to “sell” a startup, the company and its vision to candidates. In short, startups would need a talent partner who can sell the dream to potential candidates, essentially being the brand mouthpiece and make them want to embark on this journey.

For most cases with startups, it requires much more than just matching CVs to a job because the criteria is much more complex than that.

A retained talent partner would work with startups to create a compelling brand story that is relevant to the current talent market pool, understand what makes them attractive as a company and why someone would want to join them. In essence your talent partner is an extended ambassador of your brand.

Startup Culture Fit & Drive

While there are a good number of startups that have found great success in the region, it is still only a small percentage compared to startups who failed to make it work. In a market like Singapore where there isn’t a shortage of jobs, there can be a perception of startups (not to everyone) that they are unstable, challenging and extremely stressful. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to thrive and be successful in a startup culture as it usually means that a person needs to juggle multiple responsibilities across different functions. Aside from skills and ability, finding the RIGHT culture fit and drive is even more crucial when hiring for startups.

Go The Distance

Having a dedicated retained recruitment partner means you have a talent specialist who will be invested in understanding your business, your goals and objectives, your culture, and ultimately will not stop until the role is filled.

If a difficult-to-fill position is given to multiple recruitment agencies, most agencies will try for a while but when it gets too difficult they will move on to other clients with easier roles to fill (the lower hanging fruit), so there is a high risk of startup roles staying open. This is the nature of contingent recruitment.

Cost & Time

The biggest misconception about retained recruitment is that it costs more. At 33 Talent, we provide flexible commercial arrangement and bespoke solutions depending on our client’s needs as we understand not one size fits all.

As a startup, time is money! Going through applications, screening and interviewing candidates and managing the process up to offer stage does take a lot of time. For some lucky ones this could still happen but I have personally come across many startups who tried recruiting on their own and then months later, they’re frustrated because they are still not able to find the right person.

With a good dedicated talent partner, companies can just pass on that full responsibility and trust that they will shortlist the most qualified candidates in the market, go through the interview process with these pre-screened candidates, and then make the right hire. If there is budget to pay for contingent fee, why not go for a retainer where there’s so much more added value, it’s less transactional, you get guaranteed results, a tighter recruitment process and most importantly the commitment from your talent partner to fill the role?

A Real Partner

There is so much more added value services involved in a retained setup which always have a guaranteed positive outcome. Opting for a retained search arrangement isn’t just about committing to using just one talent partner, it’s partnering with them as an extension of your business, to drive all your talent engagement activities and ultimately find the right talent for the business.

#retained #hiring #startups