• Luke Entrup

Three Ways to Attract Top Talent

First Round just released their annual report which highlights responses from 700 startup founders. When asked about their biggest concern, “hiring good people” ranks at the top of the list.

The tension between keeping expenses lean while still attracting top talent is an age old riddle often viewed simply through the lens of financial affordability – “Can I afford the candidate?

The companies that create a competitive advantage in attracting top talent ask a different question – “How do we create the conditions for our company to develop people?

Here are three effective strategies for becoming a destination company for top talent:

Make stellar things

The first priority of any company should always be excellence in its products or services. It is easy to become distracted by the business of running a company, but leaders should always put quality at the top of every list. Most high performing employees want to be a part of something that brings real value to the market and their lives.

Develop the whole person

The days of lifelong loyalty to a single company and the related incentive of company-funded pensions died a slow death over that last few decades. This has spurred a transient workforce which places fresh value on experiences of professional and personal development. Companies that have embedded into their DNA robust opportunities for employees to develop new skills, expand personal leadership abilities, and the chance to contribute to a cause of social good have the chance to sell a candidate on more than just a compensation package. Developing the whole person also works wonders in retaining the talent they already have.

Tell your story

Defining the company as one that believes its people are the key to its success sends a powerful message to potential talent. Founders should use every chance they have to frame success around the people that create it. Capturing this message in videos goes far in boasting morale and spreading the word to top talent.


Investing in and building an infrastructure that continuously gives employees a chance to develop as people will have a compound effect over time resulting in a self-identified culture of innovation and excellence. People notice this from the outside and will want to come join the party!

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