Hiring new talent for your start-up is a big decision, and one that can make many entrepreneurs nervous. But how do you calm those nerves and feel confident that you’re hiring the perfect fit for your business? We chatted with Scott Stirrett, Founder and Executive Director of Venture for Canada, about the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face when looking for talent and his tips on how to overcome them.

What do you think the biggest challenge is for entrepreneurs looking to hire talent for their start-up?

All small businesses face unique challenges when it comes to recruiting.  In most cases, they have nascent brands, and minimal resources to devote to recruiting.  As a result, it can be challenging for small businesses to find the right talent.

Technology firms face particularly intense challenges, as they often encounter far more rapid growth than traditional small businesses.  To go from 20 people to 60 people in a year places immense pressure on high growth companies. As a result, access to top talent is frequently cited as one of the most significant challenges that startup companies face when they scale.

Why do you think it’s a good idea for entrepreneurs to look at new grads for their start-ups?

We strongly believe that companies should hire for character and train for skills.  Skills are malleable and can be taught, character is something that is far more static.  As a result, companies should care more about someone’s fundamental values than how many years of experience that a candidate has in a certain role.

Recent grads have the opportunity to add a tremendous amount of value to many companies.  Companies should not immediately disqualify talented recent graduates just because these individuals are beginning their careers.

Why do you think that recent graduates are seeking opportunities within the start-up world?

Millennials are wanting more than the standard 9-5 job.  They want the opportunity to make an impact, to learn a lot in a short period of time.  Working at a start-up provides both of these things in spades, which explains why recent graduates are gravitating towards these positions.

Can you talk a bit about the influx of grads you’re seeing gravitating towards the start-up world?

For our current cohort of Fellows, we are on track to receive 1,500 applications, which is double what we received last year.  As we visit campuses across Canada, we are seeing an ever increasing interest by students and recent graduates to work at start-ups.

Where can entrepreneurs seek out entry-level talent for their business?

There are many avenues in addition to Venture for Canada that companies can pursue to augment their recruiting funnel.  These include posting on university job boards, LinkedIn ads, developing a compelling career page on your website, and participating in university job fairs.

Interested in becoming a partner start-up with Venture for Canada? Click here.

About Scott & Venture for Canada:
Scott graduated from Georgetown University from their School of Foreign Science. After graduating from university, Scott worked at Goldman Sachs as a member of their cross-product client experience team. Currently, Scott is the Founder and Executive Director of Venture for Canada, a non-profit organization that trains, recruits and supports top recent graduates to work at top Canadian start-ups that are in need of talent.

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