Ewan Anderson

Ewan Anderson

Marketing Manager

Over the last few months it’s fair to say I’ve become completely encapsulated by the world of start-ups. The excitement and enthusiasm that exists in this space and the passion for an idea is infectious. Through my role as Marketing Manager for TalentSpark I engaged with a whole host of entrepreneurs at both EIE17 and Converge Challenge and although the businesses were at varying stages with their ventures the one thing that was common throughout was their creative mind-set.

As a startup you have to be adaptable and find solutions to a variety of problems. Finding the right team is inevitably one of these problems as hiring the wrong person could be very costly to a business.

So it got me thinking, once you have narrowed down the field of candidates to a manageable level what sort of creative recruitment process could small businesses engage to ensure the interview process generates the right candidate and reflects the business?

Recruitment Objectives

I’ve always found that even the most creative individuals start with a purpose. So the first thing you have to consider are your objectives? What level of role are you recruiting for and what skills and personality traits do you want them to present? For most companies there are two key areas they are looking at, the candidates culture fit and their technical ability.

Certainly from what we understand for some of the CEO’s we spoke with culture fit has elevated itself to a similar level of importance to that of the technical skills.

Answering these questions are vital before you start out on the interview process.

Recruitment Process

Now you know who you’re recruiting for you need to think about a creative process that will enable them to highlight where their skills lie. The aim is to find something other than a standard personality interview.

Will they need to display leadership skills, or is this a very technical role that will feed into larger team activity? Either way you will have in your mind certain skills that potential employees should display, you just need a find a way for them to show you.

Problem Solving

Creative Recruitment

If there are certain technical skills you need the potential employee to have you could create a situation for them to solve to highlight their suitability. It could be timed or require them to meet certain conditions. This could be used during the interview process or as a screening process to reduce the volume of wasted applications.

Quixey, challenged potential engineering candidates to review a programming problem in 60 secs with the chance to win $100. It was a great way to meet new talent and build the profile of the brand at the same time.


Creative Recruitment

This is a great way to test the softer skills and find the depth you may be seeking. It may sound a little unstructured to some so it is important that as an interview panel you sit down and identify the key questions and areas you would want covered. You will then be armed with a list of broad questions that can be expanded on.

The challenge is about being prepared to drill down into areas when they present themselves. This approach is far more focused on listening and could be of value to in less technical roles.

Water Cooler Moments

Creative Recruitment

If you are serious about finding the right fit for your company, and as we mentioned so many more CEO’s are, then it is vital you are able to observe how the candidate interacts with the rest of the team.

You could, and probably should make your team part of the process. Include a period within the interview process for the candidate to interact with the team. It may be part of a group exercise, either as a leader of a team or working collaboratively, or informally at a coffee break, but it will provide valuable insight into their suitability.

Find the right fit

Creative Recruitment

This is not possibly the right technique for recruiting a CEO but when you are recruiting for new team members, it doesn’t matter what business you are running people will need to follow instruction at some point.

Provide some very simple instructions that should be followed on the day of the interview.  Wear a shirt and tie (if that fits with your company) or show up at a certain time as that’s when your US customers will come online. Whatever it is, have a reason for it and if the candidates don’t meet the simple instructions then they are not right for your business.


As entrepreneurs you are always looking for a different approach to solving the problems you face. This was particularly evident at EIE17 and Converge Challenge. So adopting a different approach from the traditional face to face personality interviews could prove very useful in identifying the right candidate for your business and give you that competitive advantage your after.


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