Start-Up Hiring and Recruitment Trends To Expect In 2022


There’s no secret – it’s a competitive market out there for companies looking to hire top talent.

Companies of all sizes are looking for new ways to make themselves stand out from a sea of workplaces. While trying to build a competitive team, many start-ups have adapted their hiring and recruiting practices to better support candidates and their own talent teams.

If your start-up is looking to attract top talent in 2022, here are some of the top hiring and recruitment trends you can expect in the coming year.

Recruiting Moves from Reactive to Proactive

The classic hiring cycle relies on potential candidates applying to job advertisements to fill vacant roles. The job gets posted by a recruiter and then the team waits for candidates to come to them.

In this competitive market, recruiter outreach is no longer reserved for high-level corporate employees. Even entry and mid-level start up jobs are seeing more success with proactive recruitment. We’re seeing more and more recruiters reaching out to candidates ahead of potential job postings.

This allows recruiters to build relationships with candidates early in the process. In addition, they’re filling their hiring pipelines with quality, high-performing candidates.

Start-ups can compete with more established organizations by embracing proactive recruiting.

Emphasis on Employer Branding and Company Values

“Why should I work here?”

Branding is no longer just part of the consumer marketing equation. Companies looking to leave a lasting positive impression on employees will need to take time to focus on their branding as an employer. It’s not enough to simply have a job available with a competitive salary,

Prospective employees want to understand and align with a company’s values and goals before signing on the dotted lines. Some questions candidates might be researching include:

  • What is the company’s mission statement?
  • Is there a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion?
  • What is the reputation for the company’s culture?

If the candidate doesn’t find that the answers align with their own values, there’s a good chance that they’ll move on to the next role. (Even if offered a competitive compensation package.) Moreover, you don’t want someone who doesn’t align with your company’s values no matter their skill.

Diversity, equity + inclusion is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’

It’s not enough to treat diversity, equity, and inclusion as an afterthought. We’ve seen a significant shift in DEI hiring practices over the last several years. However, recruiters will need to continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion in 2022.

Many strategies are emerging to help with diversity, equity, and inclusion in recruitment. This includes engaging technology to eliminate bias throughout the hiring process, as well as making sure that job postings are shared equitably. This ensures that open roles are available to diverse candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. Don’t rely on one or two popular job boards. Find relevant niche boards, share with as wide a network as possible, and ensure your job posting doesn’t inadvertently turn qualified candidates away.

Candidates are not only looking for inclusivity throughout the hiring process but within company culture as well. It’s clear that companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion have happier employees and offer a safer work environment. Companies that aren’t clearly committed to DEI will find it more difficult to attract talent over the coming years.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion, DEI, is sometimes DEIB, with a B for belonging. We all work better when we feel like we belong, but that is a difficult feeling to create. Start-ups and small businesses often have the problem that the group of founders and early employees found each other through networks and friendships. That close knit group can often be homogeneous cause others to feel like outsiders. The key is to clearly state your goals and values, acknowledge that DEIB is a journey, and to work every day to expand your network and the sense of commitment to a workplace where diversity of experience, thought, needs, and cultures enhances your business opportunity for success even though it can be hard at times.

Remote hiring is here to stay

Thanks to the pandemic, more employees are working from home than ever before. As a result, more hiring is taking place remotely as well.

Candidates no longer need to rush across town to carve out 30 minutes for an interview. Instead, they can simply flip open their laptops and hop on a virtual meeting with a recruiter or interviewer.

Remote hiring makes the process simpler for everyone involved. Even in hybrid or office-based startups, the flexibility and ease has made fully-remote hiring attractive.

Remote hiring also makes it possible for companies to hire employees from different regions – opening themselves up to a much larger talent pool. Companies that don’t embrace remote hiring will ultimately find themselves at a disadvantage to those that do.

Hiring for Soft Skills; Training for the Job

Over the last couple of years, we’re seeing more and more job postings with the disclaimer, “If you don’t have all the skills required, we’d still love to hear from you!”

Wondering why? Many companies, particularly starts ups, are recognizing that having 100% of the ideal skills isn’t necessary to make a strong hire. It’s more important that candidates have the right attitude and soft skills. Skills like problem-solving, creativity, and leadership are highly sought-after. These skills can be more difficult to teach someone than hard skills, such as using technology.

While some hard skills are non-negotiable for certain roles, there are often many that can be taught along the way. By hiring a candidate with the right attitude and motivation, companies often land ahead and simply training them for the job at hand.

Tl;dr: Hire employees that can be part of the larger company culture that ultimately determines the success of most start-ups and small businesses.

Increased Incentives and Referral Programs

Expect employee referral incentives to play a larger role in the hiring process in the coming year.

Much like companies use their own network of customers to find qualified leads, current employees are a great way to reach successful candidates. Employee referral candidates are often great fits, since they’re essentially pre-screened and vouched for. Employees are also unlikely to refer poor-quality candidates in an effort to maintain their own reputation within the organization.

By offering enticing and strong referral incentives, employees are more likely to dig deep into their own network to help fill vacant roles. At most organizations, these incentives materialize in the form of a cash bonus once a candidate is officially hired and makes it past their probationary period.

Candidate referral programs are especially important in a start-up or small business because your employees are the best communicators of your culture and whether someone would be a good fit for a fast moving and often mission driven workplace.

One word of caution: if you’re not as diverse a company as you want to be, relying on employee referrals will often exacerbate the problem, so keep an eye on your applicant pools and continue also using other methods of job posting and job advertising that will reach a broad audience.

Look to automation to manage time-consuming processes

Hiring can be extremely resource-heavy and time-consuming. In 2022, we expect companies to further embrace automated hiring processes.

The good news is that technology has made automating hiring easier and more effective than ever before. From resume-screening to skills evaluations, AI and technology can help make the process more time-efficient.

For example, traditionally recruiters needed to share job postings individually to each job board. With platforms like HireBeat, one new posting will automatically be posted to over 200 job boards – making it easier to find candidates wherever they’re searching.

Recruiting teams can also embrace technology to help streamline administrative tasks. Hiring platforms make more cumbersome parts of the process, like team collaboration simple. This way your teams can assign tasks, make informed decisions, and speed up the hiring process.

Support hybrid hiring with virtual interviews

Many companies have returned to the office or have adopted hybrid work policies. This means a good portion of recruitment and hiring activity has returned in-person as well.

That being said, after a couple of years of remote hiring, companies have realized that remote hiring can be equally as effective. Many are leaning on the flexibility of scheduling virtual interviews to help support the hiring process. Instead of the traditional cycle of waiting on a time where everyone is able to make it into the physical office.

By cutting out the travel time, scheduling becomes much simpler. Not only are organizations able to find great candidates virtually, it can shorten the hiring process for everyone involved.

Recruiting platforms like HireBeat have made it possible to even go through parts of the hiring process asynchronously with video interviews that replace time consuming screening calls with job candidates. Anyone know a start-up or small business that doesn’t want to save time and have fewer wasteful calls?

Offer benefits that support candidates’ lifestyles

A complete (and competitive) compensation package includes much more than just salary.

Every candidate is unique and has a completely different set of needs in order to maintain a work-life balance. To attract top talent, companies are continuing to tweak their benefits packages. The goal is to create a Total Rewards package that brings value to their candidates’ lifestyles. No – this doesn’t mean adding an extra soda fountain or another pool table.

Many start-ups have found success offering compensation and benefits such as:

  • Remote / hybrid work options
  • Flexible work hours
  • Mental health days or benefits
  • Financial wellness benefits.
  • Equity and bonuses to complement base salaries

Embracing employee benefits has also proven to be a strong employee retention tool as well.


While start up recruitment can be a challenge in this competitive market, it’s far from impossible. By staying ahead of these hiring trends and offering value for candidates, start-ups can still build teams of stellar talent.

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