When my co-founder and I started Scouted, as non-technical founders, we needed to hire a CTO to build out our platform. Like many early-stage companies, we had no money to pay them a proper salary. Figuring out how to hire top tech talent – and not sacrifice on quality – without being able to offer competitive compensation packages as we were used to doing in our hedge fund days, was an invaluable experience. Even once we raised our first round of capital, we still didn’t have the resources to compete with high-growth startups or brand name firms for top talent. We had to find a different angle than cash alone.

After minimum financial needs have been met, it becomes about tapping into a candidate’s values and motivations, and this is where I see companies constantly fall short: Companies fail to effectively sell the opportunity to the candidate. 

People want to feel like they are a part of something special; something greater than themselves. You can’t just expect candidates to know why you are awesome. You actually need to tell them. While there are likely universally appealing things about your firm that makes sense to proactively communicate, remember that different people value different things. Take the time to try to understand what motivates your offeree because you might be surprised about what’s meaningful to them beyond cash compensation. 

And, most importantly, although people want to know that they will be fulfilled in the job as it stands today, they’ll also want to make sure that the opportunity will both open up doors for them in the future and also not close off others.

This is why you need to communicate your value proposition: to help paint a clear picture of what this role could lead to in the future and what makes this not just any job, but a true opportunity to learn, grow and make an impact. 

There’s no debate that having the resources to offer competitive compensation packages to top talent makes it easier to close top talent, but, whatever you can do to help a candidate feel confident that they are making a smart decision for their present self – as well their future self – is often what will seal the deal.



CEO & Co-founder, Scouted