Skip to main content

How to Find + Recruit Senior Employees for Your Startup

Hiring senior talent has proven to be a challenge. Not only is there a smaller talent pool to choose from, but it’s also a high stakes hire when the impact the potential candidate may have on the company is considered. If the thought of hiring senior employees stresses you out and you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic! We’ve put together a list with steps on how to find and hire senior level employees for your startup.  


Where do you find them? 

Most often, senior level hires are passive candidates – those that are not currently looking for a new job. According to an Experteer career services survey, 97% of senior candidates in a company want to be ‘found’ or ‘approached’ by headhunters for relevant vacancies. With that in mind, you’ll need to get your personalized outreach plans in place, pronto.  

John Fleischauer, CEO and Chief Hiring Officer explains “the tactics that traditional recruiters or HR people use to try to attract senior employees is the exact same that they use for junior employees, which is why it’s so hard.” He emphasizes that “To be successful at approaching, attracting, and hiring the more senior folks, you have to take into consideration the factors by which the person is evaluating the opportunity and ask yourself ‘is it substantially better than what they have?’.” Because a more senior level employee typically has a lot more to lose than they do to gain, you’ll need to be upfront and sell them on the company (is there job security?), the role (why you think they’d be a good fit), and why it’s worth leaving their current role (what benefits can you offer that are better than what they currently have?). 

Another option for finding senior level candidates is employee referrals. Though it’s important to not only rely on referrals for finding new hires, they do tend to be more accurate when coming from someone already in the industry. Have you considered a referral program? When looking for senior candidates, a referral program with some sort of incentive would push employees into high gear and likely increase the pool of qualified candidates. 



Finally, if you’re having trouble finding senior level employees, what’s stopping you from looking inward? With the right training in place, workers promoted from inside the company are a great option. They are already familiar with and have experience in the industry, they know the company culture and have already proven to be a good fit within the company. Sometimes, the perfect candidate for the role is right in front of you, so look inwards first! 


Here are 5 main characteristics to look for when interviewing potential candidates: 

1. Strong work ethic 

People with a strong work ethic will often need less supervision on their day-to-day tasks, and their determination and motivation to get things done and exceed requirements is obvious. 

2. Responsibility and dependability 

Someone who is responsible and dependable is an important quality of a leader. You’ll want to hire someone that can be counted on and trusted to follow through on their tasks, and someone who is responsible enough to be independent in their work and decisions. 

3. Integrity 

Having integrity means being honest, loyal, practicing what you preach and in short, doing the right thing. Leaders that show integrity are aligned with their personal and work values and typically earn the trust of others. 

4. Versatility/flexibility  

Looking for a senior employee that is versatile and flexible means they’ll likely have a wide-ranging skill set and like trying new things/being challenged. 

5. Investment in teams’ success 

Younger, more in-experienced employees will look up to senior employees. That’s why it is important to find a senior candidate that will be invested in their team, their development and their success. 


If you don’t feel like you have the talent you need in-house it’s time to start recruiting! Hiring for a senior level role means more experienced and qualified individuals are involved. Since they are likely to be passive candidates happy in their current role, your interview process will have to grab their attention and pique their interest in order to convince them to switch companies. Here are a few steps on how you can do just that and make a senior hire: 


1. Involve the people that will be directly working with the new hire 

It’s important that the new hire meshes well with the people they will be working with. So, gather the opinions from the people that will be working directly with them before the interviews. What kind of skills do they think will help the new hire excel in the role? Also, involving employees in the interview process allows them to start building relationships before on-boarding, leading to better team integration for the new hire. 

2. Don’t forget about culture fit! 

Culture fit is a big one! Sure, a candidate may check all the boxes skill/experience wise, but do they seem like they’d fit in with your company culture? What do they value? Is it compatible with the company’s value and mission? Don’t forget, senior level employees want to work for a company that will accelerate what they feel is important. To uphold and continue to build on your company culture means you need the right people to help you along the way, so maybe, just maybe, you’ll want to look beyond the resume…👀 

3. Build a structured interview 

Creating a standardized list of questions for interviews is highly recommended! By putting every candidate through the same process, you’re able to fairly assess them with unbiased comparisons with the others. Think you need to go back to the basics? This blog is a perfect resource.

4. Make sure you have a great candidate experience 

A great candidate experience is key to building your reputation as a company and attracting more candidates. Create an experience that is simple, scalable and straight to the point so candidates (specifically senior level), feel good about working for you. Senior level employees value different things in jobs than, for example, a junior candidate. One of those things would be the overall experience of the interview, so it’s important to sell them right from the very beginning of the process with your candidate experience.  

5. Consider asking professionals to help you find the best fit 

Ahem, that’s us! 👋👋 

Seriously, we can help! Hiring is supposed to be simple. If you’re struggling to find a senior level candidate that is a good fit for your startup, it may be time to call in the professionals. Not only will we help you save time by doing the outsourcing, recruiting, and screening for you, but we promise you’ll save SO much money by hiring the right person, the first time.  

Ready to get started hiring? Reach out! 

Hiring Great People For Your Startup

Related Posts

Join our Community

Return to top