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Level the Playing Field with Your Small Business Hiring

Greg Becker says “tech companies are a bright spot in the economy” these days and he should know. He’s president and CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, which conducts an annual survey of privately owned startup companies in the US and United Kingdom. Not only are tech companies on a hiring frenzy, they’re embracing technologies such as applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that propel the hiring process into the high-tech arena, too.

Some recruiting-related highlights of the 2013 Startup Outlook Report include:


  • 750 executives of startup companies in the US participated in the survey.
  • 125 startup executives in the UK participated.
  • Of them, 87% said they plan to hire new staff members in 2013.
  • That’s up 73% from just four years ago when only 14% said they were hiring.
  • It’s the software companies – about 90% of them – that anticipate the most new hires.
  • 90% of all startup executives describe finding qualified employees as a “challenging” endeavor.
  • Candidates with STEM are the most desirable. STEM is education and / or expertise in science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • General business skills are in high demand, too.
  • 82% of US startup executives are looking for candidates with STEM qualifications.
  • 77% of UK executives are looking for STEM qualifications.
  • Job applicants from Texas and Washington state are most likely to possess STEM qualifications.


These survey statistics reveal the need for a great deal of focused recruiting strategies geared solely to the high-tech startup market. Although the Silicon Valley Bank’s annual survey targets startups only, it’s easy to expect big companies, already well established in the high-tech industry, are also seeking job applicants with the same qualifications.

The available jobs may be plentiful but the competition is fierce. The best tracking tools are sure to produce the best outcomes.

Modern recruiting tools such as ATS use advanced computer technologies to sort through applications and categorize applicants according to skill sets. Once the field of applicants is narrowed to the most suitable candidates, ATS helps schedule and organize interviews and keeps track of any follow-up communications that are needed. Once hired, ATS databases can be updated as a new hire’s career unfolds, making promotion and other career advancement information always available.

The use of applicant tracking systems levels the playing field between startups and big businesses which often have a dedicated team of salaried workers devoted to recruiting, tracking, and hiring the job applicants with the most promise. Fortunately for startups on limited budgets, open source and free ATS platforms are available at little or no cost and they do exactly what the expensive big business platforms do.


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