After finding product market fit, building the right team is probably the most important job a founder has. But recruiting is difficult for the vast majority of startups and most early stage companies don’t have the resources to invest in a full time head of people until Series A.
Many founders think they only need to offer attractive salaries and some stock grants and that great people will come. But the truth is that the best talent can choose to work anywhere they’d like. Your job is to convince them to join your mission and your team on your quest to solve the problem you’ve set out to solve.
We have seen many successful startups that have open job opportunities struggle to hire top talent, even when the position and the company is great. Most often, startups don’t have clear job descriptions and reasons why top talent should join the team, which leads top talent who might be interested in joining your startup passing on otherwise amazing opportunities. Even worse, they might not even realize you exist! Your startup might have a Tesla engine, but to candidates, it might like a ten-year-old Toyota Corolla.
The absolute basic must-have is a well designed, well written “Work With Us” page. Anyone looking for a job with your company wants to understand what it’s like working on your team. They’ll want to see what your offices look like or if you’re a remote team. And what kinds of things you do to build a top team. You only have one chance to make a good first impression to get top talent excited about working with you to help build your dream. A Work With Us page is table stakes.
The top talent flywheel, starting with a Work With Us page
As the old saying goes, if you want to move fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. It’s nearly impossible to build a great company without a great team. Adding great talent to your team helps you:
The best team members allow you to delegate, freeing up your time so that you can work on the lead domino without you having to micro-manage.
Top talent attracts other top talent. If you have convinced one great team member to join your team, other top talent will start to realize that you must have something special. Hiring generates momentum. It brings more top talent, but it also helps push the rest of your team to a higher level.
- VCs want to know your team is capable of winning
- VCs need to be able to trust the rest of your team to scale and build without needing founder micromanaging.
- As Brad Feld, Partner and Founder of Foundry, said in an interview,
“When we evaluate a company, we spend as much time as we can with the leadership, not just the founder entrepreneur, but also the team around them. We look at how the team relates to the product they are building.”
In addition to helping attract top talent, a great Work With Us page has additional second-order benefits. Many investors track Work With Us pages as a way to see what your priorities really are, how fast you’re really growing, whether you are remote first vs. office, how you think about building a team, and much more.
TL:DR: How to create an amazing Work With Us page
Tell a story
What's it like to work at your company? What’s your mission? Why are you doing what you’re trying to do? Answer these questions with a story rather than a bullet list.
Answer the questions that candidates will have about your startup
Be very clear about what your company does and list your open roles.
Don’t mislead candidates
Make sure it is a true representation of your company. Nobody likes to be sold a bill of goods that’s not really what your startup is.
Get candidates excited about your mission
The best talent can work anywhere; give them reasons to choose you.
Have links to all open jobs
Make your open roles easy to find.
Table stakes so that top talent doesn’t “bounce” off your ugly work page.
People want to see their potential future coworkers or office space.
Objective: Tell job seekers your company story
A good Work With Us page should answer all the questions a job seeker may have about your startup. This page should tell a story that answers all of the following questions:
- What do you do?
- What’s it like to work with you?
- What type of people are on your team?
- What benefits do you offer?
- What makes working with you different from working with other companies?
- Why should I join your team?
- What are your open roles?
Creating a well designed work with us page with all of your job listings to attract top talent
Most startups don’t have a Work With Us page, and most that do don’t have a good one.
We built our Magma “Work With Us Guide” to share the advice we give every Magma portfolio company so that everyone can have a great page. Here’s what we tell our portfolio:
Make the Work With Us page easy to find.
Link to your Work With Us page in the main tab on your website. Don’t hide the link at the bottom of the page in small print. Keep it simple, like how Ualá includes “Trabajar en Ualá” as a section at the top of their site.
This page should reflect what it is really like to work with you. Don’t set false expectations. Shopify’s work with us page creates a transparent candidate experience from the start, through their “things you should know” section. Being honest helps weed out people who are not a fit for your culture, and serves as the first filter in your candidate funnel.
Use photos & videos.
Make your Work With Us page as interactive as possible. Use visual aids to help tell your story. Link to youtube videos, or embed native video. Add photos. People love to see their future coworkers. Prometeo embeds multiple videos on their page to show what it’s like to work with them.
Include team member testimonials.
Just as customer testimonials are a great way to attract future customers, team member testimonials are a great way to attract future employees. The team member testimonial brings to life what you are saying on the rest of the Work With Us page.
Find someone on your team that has been promoted frequently and has grown with your startup to tell their story. In their testimonial, this person should talk about their experience working with you, what they do in their role today, the best parts of their job, and how they have grown during their time with you.
Good testimonials can take many forms. You can use videos that tell a team member’s story like Rebill’s Meet the Team videos, which is linked to their page. Non-video testimonials can also be really effective. Uber’s interview transcript testimonial and Doordash’s “employee spotlights” do a good job at using photos and Q&A interview transcripts to bring the employee experience to life.
Show/link all of the cool stuff you do.
Include photos from the most recent offsite you had, or videos demonstrating benefits that make your company unique. Even something simple like Truora’s short video in their “Nuestro Equipo” section is effective at showing you, rather than telling you, what it’s like to work with them.
Link or embed press/interviews/podcasts.
Was a team member on a podcast recently? Link it. Your founder explained the company vision during an interview? Embed it. All of this helps give a well-rounded perspective of the company. This media helps give your startup instant credibility, plus it also starts to weed out people who are not a fit for your culture. Ubits embeds video to show why they were awarded as a “Great Place to Work.”
Include updated job postings.
All open roles should be easy to find and in the same spot. You can integrate 3rd party candidate tracking solutions into your website like Ubits does, post your jobs directly on your own site like we do at Magma, or even link to your job posting on LinkedIn. Remove postings for roles that you have hired. Top talent will get annoyed easily if they apply for a job that’s on your site, but it’s not really open.
Update your Work With Us page over time.
Make sure it accurately represents your company today.
Write SEO-friendly copy.
Most job searches start on Google, so make sure potential candidates can find you. Don’t go overboard here. Write clearly and directly first, but if you can make SEO work, do it.
The Magma Recommended “Work With Us” web page layout for Latin American Startups
Join our team! & See Open Opportunities
Start with an image and a link to your open job opportunities, like Listopro. Include a brief 1-2 sentences that gets prospective candidates excited about your company's mission. Step 1 is to get the messaging right in this section. Then, you can invest in top-level design to make your Work With Us page the best it can be.
About Us / Our vision
Give some background to your company. When did you found the company? What do you do? Make it as clear and easy to understand as possible. Be as direct as possible. Write how you speak. Truora’s company timeline details the company’s priorities over the years.
Hubspot embeds a video of their CEO telling the company's history and what their mission is in Hubspot's “Our Story.”
Company Culture & Values
Describe your company culture by describing the values that define your company. If you haven’t thought this through yet, spend the time to do it. The best companies have real values. The best values are non-obvious. Everyone agrees you shouldn’t steal. What are the unique values that your company has that will make a team member’s time with your startup interesting, memorable, and a place they want to work?
Coinbase and Shopify do a great job of eliminating any ambiguity in what their company culture is like. As Ben Horowitz says, creating a strong company culture will “help you identify employees who fit with your mission.” Strong company culture also helps future team members identify you as a fit for them.
What are the meaningful benefits that you offer employees? Albo, Listopro, and Maisonette list these clearly and avoid any confusion.
Include pictures and a blurb on your team. Where are they geographically? How many team members do you have? What are their backgrounds? This is a good place to include employee testimonials or pictures and videos from events, like this example from Listopro.
Include all open positions. Include the title, ideally one sentence on what this role will do, and the link to the job description. Don’t use unique job titles that create ambiguity.
Spread your reach wide to get to the best candidates. Use job aggregators such as Indeed and promote the roles on your social media and company blog, like we do at Magma.
As a founder, attracting and hiring the right team members is critical to your success. Top talent can choose to work for anyone, so it's important that you make a strong case for why they should join your team. Building a great Work With Us page filters out candidates that won’t be a fit with you, shows potential hires why they should work for you, and increases your chances of attracting top talent.
Get version one of your Work With Us page up and running as soon as possible. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect right away, having something is better than nothing. Start with the content, then improve the design after.
I hope this overview was useful. If you have questions or comments, or things that I missed or got wrong, please send them our way.