Recruitment Hacks for Startups

The *Perfect* Work in Startups Ad

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Chris Apostolou

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The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that Work in Startups has had a bit of work done over the last few weeks. Now everything is shiny and new, we wanted to help you make the ads you post look as good as possible! 

Given that our team have read hundreds and thousands of UK startup job ads, we think we’ve come up with the recipe to entice your perfect candidate, starting with…

About the Company

Up front, we think its always a good idea to include a brief overview of your startup and a look into what you do. Right at the beginning, if you can boast about your mission, milestones, awards, funding rounds etc, then you’ll (hopefully) have the candidate hooked. It’s all about selling yourself in the first 5 seconds! We also cannot recommend enough a “what we’re building section” including company goals and what everyone is working toward. 

Remember to include a link to your company website in your admin account so the candidate can click through to your website easily (also its a free link for you!) 

About the Role

The most successful ads on our site clearly display what the candidate will be doing on a daily basis. We recommend spelling out:

  • Specifically what they will be building/working on
  • Who they will be reporting to
  • Tasks and responsibilities they will be regularly undertaking
  • Things they might do in a few months time as they learn new startups skills


Now seems like a good time to acquaint you with some shiny new filters we introduced. We now have all the filters your little heart can dream of! Honourable mention to our new filters: Ops and Finance, Customer Support, Data and Product, and Other Jobs. These have been included to help candidates find startup jobs best suited to them, so make sure you pick the category that best matches your role!

General tip: By all means show personality and humour in your job ad (it always makes us smile when we see an eye-catching title) but be aware that candidates like to know at a glance what they’re applying to. E.g. “Sales and Marketing Superstar” is infinitely better than “[Your startup name] Superstar”.


There is an emerging trend in our favourite job ads on Work in Startups for experience; must have and nice-to have. We recommend splitting your experience expectations of the candidate into these two categories because it gives the candidate a better idea of the skill level required of them. We also think it’s a nice way to help them prepare for the interview (to save you time).

For example, you could say that a new junior developer must have 2+ years experience with Python, but a degree in computer science is a nice-to have addition. Easy.

Benefits and Company Particulars 

We really recommend including all the fantastic perks your startup has to offer – now is the chance to show off that amazing co-working space in Shoreditch, team social calendar, or your unlimited flat white budget.

The key things to include in company particulars meanwhile (aside from the fun stuff) are any bits of salary information, potential for stock options (if any) and your startup office location. You can include details on hours too if they’re a bit irregular, but we recommend not bothering if they’re fairly standard or if the role is sufficiently senior – can make you come across as a bit too corporate.

Equal Opportunities:

We encourage all our employer community to promote equal opportunity practices in their HR and recruitment. Lots of our candidates have fed-back that they look for companies that value these principles when applying. The EOC has lots of information on these practices based on the Equalities Act 2010, both are worth a read if you want to promote diversity in your recruitment.

Application Information

We really recommend specifying what you expect your candidate to include in their application as there are many options available:

  • CV
  • Covering Letter
  • Essay or Application Questions
  • GitHub stuff (if a developer job)
  • Portfolio (if a designer job)
  • Their own website or projects they have created
  • Linkedin profile

We’ve found this helps weed out applicants who ‘spam apply’. 

Note: if you want to have a chat about specifics or even partnerships, drop our team an email at contact@workinstartups – they will be able to help with bespoke options. 

We look forward to reading your perfected ads, but if you’re struggling or want feedback feel free to contact the team! And finally don’t forget to pick a promotion if you want 4x the application number through! Happy Hiring!

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