【GS x Links International】Recruitment Tips for Startup Employers

Facing the highly competitive talent market, it can be difficult for small businesses to hire top talents, especially for start-ups. With 20 years of recruitment experience in Asia, Links International is a top recruitment agency specialised in identifying and tackling complex HR challenges. We offer recruitment and HR agency services (including Payroll outsourcing, HR analytics, Visa Applications, Secondment or PEO/ EOR services) in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Macau, Zhuhai, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia and more.

We understand it is hard for small businesses to create a great recruitment plan under limited time and resources. Therefore, we are partnering up with Garage, Asia’s fastest-growing coworking spaces, to share a series of blogs with several HR tips for your start-ups.


Top Recruitment tips to Create Your Best Recruitment Plan

From our past experiences in HR recruitment, we found that there is a huge challenge in talent acquisition for Hong Kong cooperates when compared to other Asian countries. It is common that the top talent are attracted by traditional roles with banks and MNCs, as they enjoy stability and short-term monetary gains. It seems that start-ups can only win the competition in this saturated talent market, by taking candidate-oriented recruitment practices to attract talents. But how?

Here is part II of our ten recruitment tips for small business. The last one can help you avoid falling in a hidden recruitment pitfall! 

If you would like to read part one of this article, click here.


6. Never Rely on Referral Contacts Only

Employee referral recruitment is common for start-ups to fill up its positions. Usually, word-of-mouth referrals can help you vouch for high-quality candidates, as the employees will have an initial screening first, based on their understanding towards the people he/she worked with before. Besides, the recruitment budget can also be saved from reducing the job advertisement cost. 

It seems like a great practice to help you kill two birds with one stone. Why not use it as the only recruitment method for start-ups?

It is reminded that you should not be too reliant on referral contacts, as it may create a homogeneous team that lacks diversity by excluding the best candidates that are outside current employees’ social circles, which harms the group's decision-making, neglecting the coming dangers under group think and stopping your business from the next phase of growth. 


7. Balance Cultural-fits and Skill-fits

Over-simplified interview procedures are usually caused by nonstrategic HR planning, which frequently occurs in fast-paced start-ups. From a strategic HR perspective, we should always design selection tests based on a particular set of KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities), according to the job descriptions from the job analysis of a particular position.      

Instead of testing candidates' characteristics to fit in with the existing culture of the company, try to identify the top five KSAs of a position and prioritise the weighting of each selection criteria. You can also ask creative interview questions that are difficult enough to challenge interviewees. Still, you have got to have a clear focus on the criteria to design effective selection tests that can help you target job-fit talents easily.


8. Be Careful the Discrimination Traps

It can be dangerous for recruiters to recruit talent without the knowledge of the most updated labour regulation laws in Hong Kong. Currently, the Equal Opportunities Commission of Hong Kong government is a statutory body that implements several anti-discrimination ordinances, including but not limited to Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO), and the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO), to prevent discrimination from happening in the workplace.

Undebatably, most of the start-ups’ founders in Hong Kong are male, although there is an increasing resource to support female entrepreneurship. Homogeneity of gender groups in start-ups can harm team diversity and stop the organization from making business decisions in a multi-perspective way. In order to facilitate gender balance, you should not only be focusing on increasing female representation in the top management positions but also create a respectful working environment for all genders, by reviewing your HR policy to attract and retain your talents.


9. Never Rush to Hire Talent

Finally, you have successfully persuaded some investors to invest in your business. Under great pressure from their expectation, you are desperate to hire some new employees in a rush, without much consideration. “A person's talent can only be shown by time”, you strongly believed that time is the essence and processing time is the KPI of the whole recruitment process and you select a candidate intuitively by making assumptions.

In fact, it is a frequent mistake that start-ups make, a misbelief that sacrifices your long-term value only for short-term success (or maybe there isn't even short-term success!). Job-fit and organization-fit employees are crucial for organizational growth.  Always prepare and plan when it comes to hiring! Find some experts to do an HR analysis to know about your workforce first.


10. Prevent the Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias refers to people generate a hypothesis in their minds unconsciously and look for ways to prove it. It is very common to some stressed-out entrepreneurs, particularly when they need to make a hire decision in a short period of time. For example, you met a graduate from a top college and you assume that he/ she is smart enough for the job, so you focus much in his/her academic work while ignoring the fact he/she is a crazy job hopper who do not have enough self-discipline to be persistent in a task. 

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend”. Always have that critical thinking in your mind and analyse the candidates from multi-channel, not only from CV reviews but also check on their performance in interviews and past working behaviours in reference checks.

Looking for an HR agency to help with your HR work?

At Links International, we provide cost-effective recruitment services, so that your team can focus on higher value strategic activities that make a difference to your business. Please feel free to contact usat any time and find out more about our services.


With 20 years of recruitment experience in Asia, Links has been trusted by over 10,000 clients with finding the best people to build their businesses. Get in touch with own of our representatives and learn how we can help you expand your team.

How much should you be earning in 2019? Read our 2019 Asia Salary Snapshot and find out.

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