How to attract Startup Talent

Reduce the chances of your startup failing by understanding the human side of your business.

‘More Talent for’ is a blog series from Corinne Buschhüter (DutchStartupJobs). She wants to help startups find the right talent for their team, as she experienced a vast majority of startups failing already early because of a mismatch of people in the team. In her 6 steps blog series she is going to provide you with everything you need to know to successfully hire a new team member to a startup team, from understanding to planning and execution. You will quickly learn the basics about HR for startups and soon have the tools to hire the RIGHT person to your team – reducing your chance to be a startup that fails!

Corinne’s background is in social psychology, entrepreneurship and business

(VU Amsterdam, Kauffman/MIT/Harvard/Stanford, SBE Maastricht). At the moment she is connecting Dutch startups to talent with and consulting in human-centric design.

1. Understand thyself: understand who you are to understand who you need.

Far too often I see startups failing simply because team members don’t fit together. At first, startup teams worry about the idea and how to bring it to market, yet as in all businesses and organizations, people are behind products. Without a fully functioning team you will not be able to make it. If you want to overcome this obstacle, read further and you will understand the basics of hiring for your startup.

The first step in opposition to what startups usually do, is actually not DOING but only THINKING and UNDERSTANDING. Let me explain you why:

As mentioned before, people form the basis of your organization. I’m sure you are serious about your business and want to create a good and solid basis for your startup, right? It’s crucial that the people you are working with are heading in the same direction. If you create a solid basis, which is about understanding your startup and the people in your startup, this is going to happen. Check out this cool video for inspiring your team to head in the same direction:

The following are questions to help understand you and your startup’s direction:

Questions to ask to yourself:

  • What are my core values? (some of mine are for example : authenticity, creativity, curiosity,…check out more here)
  • What do I love doing? (your passion(s), ex: thinking creatively, solving problems of people,…)
  • Where do I want to be in 5 years? (what you want to have learned, position, personal; exp;: I want to have and live together with my family, be surrounded by people that I can learn from,…)
  • Where do I see my team in 5 years? (tasks, %stake, values, best practices; ex: maintain our creative and open culture,…)

Question to answer together with your team:

What are our company values? (ex.: helpful, transparent,…)
What’s the 1 thing our startup is doing really well? (Your Core Product, Service)(ex: we are connecting talent to dedicated and fun startups)
Where do we see the company in 5 years? (strategy, growth, atmosphere)(ex.: expanding the team,….)

It can be also very valuable to share the answers of personal questions with the other team members. This will increase trust and understanding of whether your future vision is aligned and you are heading in the same direction.

After having created understanding, it is crucial that you to find out the right point of hiring. Many people argue that the most common factor related to startup failure is the process of scaling up: hiring too fast or too late. You want to hire at the right moment! Thus it is really important to understand in which growth stage you are. Consistently, startups hire in the latter stages: efficiency and scaling stages. Thus, don’t hire too fast. And check out this link for some very helpful information in order to get a feeling of when is the right point for you to hire.

Now that you have internally created more understanding, it is also crucial to take a look outside of your office.

What is the competition doing?
How does the job market look?
What are usual salaries, bonuses, shares to offer?
What are the concrete job requirements?
Think about: how do you want to position yourself next to all other startups, companies and other organizations who are also searching for startup talent?

Yes, this is everything for your first step: UNDERSTANDING and nothing more. I advise you to do this first step mindfully because, as I mentioned before, it will lay the basis for all your future HR actions and if you do this well, you will attract the RIGHT Startup TALENT.

You probably think now: “This sounds all good but how can I attract the right talent?” Totally understandable, in the next blog we will be looking at the process of how to attract the right talent. I will give you an easy process that you can use to hire your next team member.


  1. Dreamups

    Thank you for the useful insights 😉

    1. Corinne Buschhüte

      You are welcome. I am glad if they can be helpful for you 🙂


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Dutch Tech Jobs was launched in 2013 to be the Netherlands go-to website for Tech Scaleups / Startups who are looking for passionate talent.

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