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4 Smart Ways to Find Creative Employees for Your Startup Finding the best creative employees for your startup takes its own sort of creativity.

By Felix Tarcomnicu Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Startup businesses are statistically at a disadvantage -- 55 percent of startups are no longer operational by year five. Launching a startup is one thing but sustaining it for the rest of its natural life is an entirely different challenge. Because of funding constraints, startups have to resort to flexible business strategies and the most flexible asset is people because of their ability to be creative. The focus for business sustainability lies in your ability to find creative employees for your startup.

The challenges that lie ahead for the startup.

The year 2000 ushered in more than just the new millennium. It ushered in a wave of events that shook the foundations of even the strongest economies, tore down barriers and re-created the global business landscape. The Army College referred to this new age as a time of VUCA an acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Business was no longer predictable; the old school management strategy of designing a perfect plan was rendered obsolete.

In a time of VUCA, even the latest technologies will not suffice because they do not have the ability to foresee change, adapt and implement new strategy. But people. They can adapt to any situation and use their creativity to implement changes in strategy faster than technology. Thus people provide flexibility in any organization.

For startups, flexibility is very important because they have to be efficient with their resources. People give startups the means to achieve equilibrium where by maximizing talent and skill, business can extract an additional unit of productivity without increasing expenditure of resources.

Related: Remembering Prince: What The Purple One Can Teach You About Creativity

But where can startups find creative employees?

The best sources for creative employees.

By nature, creative people are those who do not wish to be constrained by structure. They feel that creativity has to be allowed to breathe and roam freely. If you want to find creative employees, you should expand your search parameters.

Creative people always find new ways to express themselves; they think outside the box because they want to find the best career opportunity for them. Here are a few smart ways to find creative people for your startup:

1. Talent agencies.

Over the last six years there has been greater demand for the services of talent agencies because of the perceived lack of quality candidates in the workforce. In such a globally competitive environment, startups would want to limit their risks when investing in their own business. When it comes to the human resource, many startups would want their recruits to generate ROI upon hiring.

An example of a good agency that helps startups and entrepreneurs hire smart employees is Artisan Talent. The key to the success of Artisan Talent is that the agency focuses on finding culturally right – fit candidates for their clients. Finding candidates with the best resumes and referrals will not necessarily guarantee long term and sustainable success.

Artisan does this by learning everything it can about you and understanding your prevailing culture. By finding culturally fit people, the conditions for productivity will remain strong. These employees subscribe to the client's purpose and vision. They will be productive not destructive. They will do what it takes and optimize their creativity to help you achieve your goals.

2. Online job markets.

Many creative people come from the corporate world. After a few years they resign because they feel the rigid structure of the corporate lifestyle stifles their creative energy. They realize that structure prevents them from optimizing their potential for generating greater income as well as having better control over their lives.

Related: 5 Ways to Inspire Creativity in Your Employees

So they put away the shirt and tie to become freelancers who are self -- employed workers contracted to do a specified set of tasks. Freelancers offer you the following advantages:

  • Lower cost alternative to FTE's.
  • Higher level of productivity.
  • Greater degree of business flexibility.
  • Skill specific qualities

Startups can also find freelancers in a number of online job market websites, including:

3. Social media.

Social media networks are good sources of creative talent. Of the 3 Billion people who search the Internet every day, more than 2 Billion are on social media. Finding good jobs and talent are among the best reasons social media has become a popular activity.

But not all social media networks function the same way. Each network is a community onto itself and has its unique culture. How you utilize each network will depend on your objective.

LinkedIn is the best social network to find creative talent. LinkedIn has features that allow you to connect with members who you believe are right -- fit for your business.

If you are not connected and cannot communicate, look for someone in your network who is connected and ask for an introduction or referral. For a small fee, you can upgrade your free membership and send LinkedIn private mail.

Related: 3 Unexpected Ways to Boost Creativity

Facebook is more of an informal community but it is easy to ask friends for referrals. You can set up a company or business page where you can post on open jobs. Facebook also hosts community pages of special interest groups. If these are not closed groups and are open to the public, feel free to join in.

These communities function to help its members and many will be more than willing to help you find potential creative employees for your startup.

Angellist is another social network which has been proven effective in finding creative talent. It was designed primarily as a network for people who want to work directly with startups.

It was launched as a way to introduce tech startups that needed investors. In Angellist, candidates self select by exercising their option to put up a profile. It's convenient for startups to browse through profiles and assess the relevance of their work experience.

Some startup owners who have used Angellist believe it is a good network to find young talent while LinkedIn caters to those in higher positions.

4. Consult with associations and organizations.

Most if not all fields of endeavor has a self -- regulating association or organization that can possibly help you find the people you need for your startup.

Find them online or look for local chapters near your place of work. Once you have established contact be active with the organization and participate in forums and discussions.

It is an effective way to network and establish contacts in the industry in case you require more people in the future.

Finding the best creative employees for your startup in a way takes creativity. You have to expand your horizons and explore other avenues to find talent. If you are consistent and resilient in your efforts, you will definitely attract a good number of candidates. The focus will then shift to qualifying the candidates from the pool into an exclusive short list.

When qualifying candidates take your time and become creative as well. Subject the candidates to interviews, tests and practical applications. In truth only the experience of working together will prove if you indeed found the best creative employees for your startup. But implementing strict and meticulous guidelines will ensure the effort in finding them will not be a waste of time.

Felix Tarcomnicu

Entrepreneur and Online Marketer

Felix Tarcomnicu is an entrepreneur and online marketer. He blogs at

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