Recruiting for startups in London – 6 practical tips

Recruiting for startups in London – 6 practical tips

Recruiting for startups in London can be challenging. Sure, there are more channels and tools than ever before, but you are also competing with some of the biggest names in tech. It’s hard to gain and retain candidate attention and interest, especially in a fast-paced, tech city like London where competition on talent is high. We have put together a list of tips you should consider when recruiting for a startup.


1 – Recruiting for startups – Recruiting with diversity in mind

When diversity is discussed in offices it is often gender focussed, for example, male-dominated industries and gender pay gaps. But diversity covers much more than gender. It covers race, religion, sexuality, disability and much more, which is why they all must be considered when recruiting candidates.

Achieving greater diversity in the workplace is not just a noble or compliance-related goal. It is actually beneficial to companies, especially London startups who are in the process of defining their culture. A white paper from Cloverpop found that when diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time. McKinsey & Company also conducted research which found out that companies with more diverse top teams were also top financial performers.


Diversity in London startups

Startups in London are expected to show a diverse mix across all levels of staff.


Diversity provides a range of different perspectives and experiences which is highly beneficial when it comes to reaching a variety of customers, along with planning and executing a business strategy. As London is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, your startup needs to reflect this to thrive.


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2 – Recruiting for startups – Being upfront with candidates

Recruiting for startups in London

Honesty pays in the long run when recruiting for a startup.


According to CareerBuilder, 68% of employees believe their experience as job candidates reflects how the company treats its people, which is why it is just as important for you to make a good first impression as it is for the candidates. A good way to start off on the right foot is by being transparent throughout the application process.

When writing a job description, ask yourself what problem the company is looking to solve with this hire, especially for senior roles. Then, develop a detailed profile of your ideal candidate and be transparent about the salary, hours, skills needed, and general requirements. This transparency ensures that you are attracting people who are genuinely sold into the startup’s vision, and believe they have the capacity to make this vision a reality. An important part of recruitment strategies for startups is providing feedback to unsuccessful candidates and keeping people ‘in the loop’ at each application stage.

This honesty is the sign of a business that genuinely cares about people, even those who are not employees. Such actions display your moral compass and personal integrity despite having to make tough decisions.


3 – Recruiting for startups – Remote work opportunities

recruiting remote employees for startups in London

Offering remote work opportunities incentivises employees and businesses alike.


Remote teams used to be unique to startups but they’ve now been pushed into the mainstream by Covid-19 and social distancing measures. While it’s hard to predict what the future holds for remote workers we can look at past trends and research.

CBRE discovered that millennials are projected to take up roughly 75% of the workforce by 2025, with Generation Z close behind them. Therefore it is important to promote styles of working which will attract these generations.

‘Work from home’ has largely been defined by brands such as Google and Facebook that have been effective at revolutionizing how we look at workplace dynamics. One of these perks is flexibility. It is more important to give employees a choice of places to engage in collaborative work, private focused work or even leisure activities that suit their work style, versus simply providing them with office space. Remote working is an essential part of a functioning work-life balance, which millennials strive for.


4 – Recruiting for startups – Quick response

Competition in London is fierce and the best talent gets picked up quickly. London offers 47% of all vacancies available from employers belonging to the Institute of Student Employers, which means that competition is fierce. Applicants are usually in the process of applying for numerous job roles simultaneously and may be gaining the attention of other organisations. In fact, 66% of job seekers move on within two weeks. Experienced candidates move even quicker and usually have companies approaching them, rather than the other way around.

To ensure a fast-paced application process, plan out each stage in advance. From advertising the role to reviewing and communicating with the candidates. Moving quickly will help you to retain the right applicants for your London startup


5 – Recruiting for startups – Choosing the right channels

Recruiting channels for startups in London

The roles your recruiting should dictate which recruiting channels to use.


If you’re recruiting for a London based startup you will have an abundance of channels to choose from. This means that you must consider how you approach candidates based on the type of position you want to fill. For instance, recruiting for senior technical roles might require specialist agencies while some niche specialities might be best sourced through slack groups and other online communities. To increase your chances of getting responses from your chosen candidates, personalise every communication. At a minimum, use the person’s name and mention one of their past roles or a unique/highly valuable skill they possess.

When recruiting for a marketing role, you must consider that 79% of job applicants use social media in their job search. Keep in mind that 98% of candidates interviewed via video see the employer as innovative. Considering the type of role you are trying to fill when creating your hiring plan not only promotes the job to the right candidates. But it also helps to promote the right image of your company.


6 – Recruiting for startups – your workspace vibe and location

Open plan offices in Shoreditch, London

Some offices spaces just make you want to work long hours. In the photo: Canvas offices Shoreditch High Street, London.


Many startups tend to overlook the importance of their office and location in London when they rent an office. It can be a make-or-break factor for many applicants and often plays a big part in defining a startup’s culture and image.

The area of Shoreditch and Old Street has developed to be the tech hub of London, and for that reason, it attracts numerous London startups. Often nicknamed Silicon Roundabout, Old Street is popular with many tech and creative companies looking to rent offices close to their clients and networks. Similarly, Clerkenwell, attracts creative firms, startups and fintech startups who need to be close to Holborn, Old Street and the City. Good transport links make an office attractive to candidates who must consider their commuting routes into work.

Canvas Offices - Office Space to rent London - Luke Street

Communal spaces and breakout areas give startup teams the freedom to step outside their office space.


But when renting an office it is also important for you to think about the workspace itself. Startup office spaces often feature break out areas, bean bags, play areas, focus booths and coffee machines. Such workspaces promote creativity and collaborative working, which often define dynamic startup cultures. In a post lockdown era, the role of collaboration in office spaces and collaborative office environments is likely to increase with some of the work being done remotely.

Your startup’s office reflects the culture of your business. In order to attract and retain the right candidates, ensure that you are based in a great location and workspace.


About us

At Canvas offices we specialise in flexible workspaces for startups and other dynamic businesses in London. With offices for rent around Shoreditch, Old Street, Dalston, Clerkenwell and Mayfair we honour to provide the headquarters to some of London’s most exciting startups and tech companies. If you’re looking for office space in London or have any questions get in touch with and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog below.

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