Tech Recruiting, Finding Niches & Starting Your Own Business

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Start-up recruiting

In this interview, Joe Woodham discusses recruiting for a tech start-up, finding your niche, and starting your own business.

Joe is known as the “intro guy” at Torii Recruitment, the specialist IT recruitment firm he founded in 2012. Finding a good fit in IT recruitment, he says, is a more nuanced challenge than just finding someone with the right skills.

About Joe

In one sentence how would you describe yourself?

I’m highly driven and passionate about business. However, I focus on maintaining balance in all aspects of my life. I love to enjoy myself, challenge myself and grow as a person.

In one sentence, how would describe your career?

My career has been a constant progression in terms of self-development and learning new skills. I’ve been lucky to fall into what I do and I’ve enjoyed the challenges along the way.

In one sentence, how would you describe your business Torii Recruitment?

Torii is agile and able to move quickly, enabling us to understand the market and our clients’ pain points and deliver a high-touch service in a skill-short market.

Finding your niche

During your talk in the WeTeachMe Master’s Series, you mentioned finding a niche and then building a business around filling it. How did you determine IT recruitment was the correct niche for your business?

I started my career in IT Recruitment and it wasn’t IT being the niche. The niche was actually working with specific skill sets within IT that the market was experiencing a shortage of.

Working with companies, understanding their pain points and looking at where the market was heading, I was able to leverage the skills I’d built to deliver a service the market and my clients needed.

You also spoke of your big learning curve when starting a business. Can you share some of them here?

When I started a business, I was good at IT Recruitment. However, when I started working for myself I quickly realized there was a lot more that was happening in the background. I had to start working on building a brand/image in the market which people knew me/Torii for. There were so many new things I had to master and make decisions on that I had taken for granted — small things like the software I used, the accounting system we used, and how I sent an invoice. I basically had to learn very quickly, and fill all the gaps to be able to run a business.

Recruiting: Joe Woodham with the WeTeachMe teamJoe Woodham (second left) at WeTeachMe’s Masters Series

Recruiting for a tech start-up

What are the major things you need to keep in mind when recruiting for a tech start-up versus another type of business?

The main difference is not in the companies you recruit for but the type of people you’re recruiting. People who fit the start-up culture are interested and looking for something very different from someone who suits and prefers to work in a large corporate.

Start-ups and corporates are always looking for the best person for the job, and it’s my job to make sure we aren’t just sending someone with the right skill but people who are going to fit their culture and working styles.

How do you know when you’ve found the perfect candidate for a job? Or vice-versa?

I’d like to say I get excited. But it’s a process, and there are many things that can go wrong from when you initially find a candidate to having a candidate start their first day. I do love the feeling of solving a client’s problem and delivering the perfect candidate and being able to get a candidate a job, which is exactly what they want and a step up on their last and that’s what drives me with recruitment.

Hiring staff for the first time, and office culture

What are the top tips you’d give to a new business looking to hire staff for the first time?

Really understanding what they’re looking for. It’s easy to say “I need a developer”, but you really need to define what that person would be doing on a daily basis, what type of person would be a good cultural fit to build a team around, and then think of what’s in it for a person joining my company?

In your opinion, what is good office culture?

A supportive team who works closely and encourages each other to be better whilst having fun.

To find out more of how Joe built up his own recruitment firm and his learnings along the way, watch his fireside chat with WeTeachMe’s Masters Series.

Frequently Asked Questions on Tech Recruiting Niches for Start-ups

What are the top tech recruiting niches for start-ups?

The top tech recruiting niches for start-ups include software development, data science, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. These areas are in high demand due to the rapid growth of technology and the need for specialized skills. Start-ups, in particular, require these skills to innovate, compete, and grow in the digital marketplace.

Why is tech recruiting important for start-ups?

Tech recruiting is crucial for start-ups because it helps them find the right talent with the necessary skills to drive innovation and growth. The right tech talent can help start-ups develop cutting-edge products, improve their services, and stay competitive in the fast-paced tech industry.

How can start-ups attract top tech talent?

Start-ups can attract top tech talent by offering competitive salaries, flexible work arrangements, opportunities for professional development, and a strong company culture. They can also leverage their unique selling points, such as the opportunity to work on innovative projects or the chance to make a significant impact on the company’s growth and success.

What challenges do start-ups face in tech recruiting?

Start-ups often face challenges in tech recruiting due to competition from larger companies, limited resources, and the need for highly specialized skills. They may struggle to offer competitive salaries or benefits, and they may not have the same brand recognition as established companies. However, start-ups can overcome these challenges by highlighting their unique advantages and leveraging innovative recruiting strategies.

What strategies can start-ups use for successful tech recruiting?

Start-ups can use various strategies for successful tech recruiting, including leveraging social media and professional networks, attending tech events and job fairs, offering internships, and partnering with universities or coding boot camps. They can also use recruitment agencies that specialize in tech talent to help them find the right candidates.

How can start-ups retain tech talent?

Start-ups can retain tech talent by creating a positive work environment, offering competitive compensation and benefits, providing opportunities for career growth and development, and recognizing and rewarding employees’ contributions. They can also foster a strong company culture that aligns with the values and aspirations of tech professionals.

What role does diversity play in tech recruiting for start-ups?

Diversity plays a crucial role in tech recruiting for start-ups. A diverse workforce can bring a variety of perspectives, ideas, and skills, which can drive innovation and improve problem-solving. Start-ups can promote diversity in tech recruiting by implementing inclusive hiring practices and fostering a culture of respect and inclusion.

How can start-ups measure the success of their tech recruiting efforts?

Start-ups can measure the success of their tech recruiting efforts by tracking key metrics such as the time to hire, the quality of hire, the retention rate, and the diversity of hires. They can also gather feedback from candidates and employees to identify areas for improvement and assess their overall recruiting performance.

What are the future trends in tech recruiting for start-ups?

Future trends in tech recruiting for start-ups include the increasing use of AI and machine learning in recruitment, the growing importance of employer branding, the rise of remote work, and the focus on diversity and inclusion. These trends reflect the evolving needs and expectations of tech professionals and the ongoing changes in the tech industry.

How can start-ups stay competitive in tech recruiting?

Start-ups can stay competitive in tech recruiting by staying updated with the latest trends and technologies, offering competitive compensation and benefits, fostering a strong company culture, and implementing innovative recruiting strategies. They can also invest in their employer brand to attract and retain top tech talent.

Angela PhungAngela Phung
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Angela was the Head of Content and Production at SitePoint. When not trying to build a new workflow process, she was also an editor and writer. The correct use of a semi-colon is a big thing for her.

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