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Startup businesses, long a mainstay of the Canadian economy, are about to flood the market in unprecedented numbers. According to a new report from the CIBC, more than half a million entrepreneurs will launch their own companies this year — the strongest show of startup activity Canada has witnessed. Ever.

Crediting a cultural shift toward me-centred self-betterment, the emergence of sprawling and interconnected markets that call for increased specialization, ever-more-sophisticated technology and a host of startup-friendly demographic trends, CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal forecasts a net gain of 150,000 new Canadian businesses in the next decade.

Such giddily expansive news calls for assiduous contemplation among those statistics-swelling individuals who will lead this charge.

Consider this: Bushy-tailed new companies can help themselves immeasurably by dipping into a recruitment firm’s commitment-free offerings in their earliest days.

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Given that startups generally can’t afford to hire many employees right out of the gate, or aren’t immediately blessed with a team equipped with every skill they need, short-term recruitment makes eminent sense. Rather than loading itself up with the financial and temporal demands of large-scale hiring, a new organization can outsource to fill its skills gap and promote business growth — before committing to a full complement of staffers.

And why not? Outsourcing means bootstrapped little guys can effectively hire a virtual staff of souls who are, technically, contractors, but are otherwise indistinguishable from full-time employees.

In today’s startup landscape, practically everything can be outsourced.

Some tasks, however, make more sense to shuffle off than others, such as those that involve client relations or require specific experience or creativity. Outsourcing stuff that’s central to your business probably isn’t a good idea, given the way it opens up the store to potential hijacking. You should own and oversee your IP/architecture, say the experts. And relinquishing product management to an outsider probably isn’t too clever, either.

But there’s plenty of opportunity for an excellent recruitment firm to step in and take over some of the heavy lifting from a startup’s overextended early days. Among the categories best suited to outsourcing:

  • social media marketing
  • R&D
  • data entry
  • system administration
  • software development
  • graphic design.

Recruitment 101: Why CVs Aren’t Enough

ImageGone are the days when a tidy little curriculum vitae, prettily pulled together by the boys at the print shop, would cut the mustard on a job search. The myriad presence of job-specific employment applications and behaviour analytics tools is too temptingly useful to ignore. And, besides, too many job seekers fabricate the stuff they’re looking to peddle you anyway.

Here’s the five-point bulletin on why the up-for-the-job document isn’t really up for the job after all.

• In the 2.6 million background checks it undertook in 2001, the American business-outsourcing firm ADP discovered that 44% of applicants had lied about their work histories on their CVs, 41% had fibbed about their education, and 23% had applied a little fiction to their inventory of earned credentials and licenses. Truth-bending is especially rampant in a volatile economy. Stats demonstrate that its incidence increases the longer people have been unemployed.

• The notion of chasing down verification on the abundance of data a resume contains is too unwieldy and overwhelming to even consider. Candidates know that as well as you. If something smells fishy, it could well be. Prioritize your fishing trips according to how promising an applicant appears. Quick-hit behaviour analysis tests like Predictive Index, that wannabes could do on the spot, provide instant detailed insight.

• A mixed stack of resumes is as good as a bowl of fruit when it comes to evaluating them in context. Ideally, paper resumes should be enhanced with standardized employment applications that are specific to particular jobs. That way, your apples compare to apples.

• If employment aspirants are virtual books of data, their CVs are merely the cover. Don’t judge by them alone, however glossy. Because the guy with the fancy-pants, heavy-stock, multifont masterpiece may actually be inferior to his bare-bones-flimsy-Helvetica-heavy competition.

• An eye-tracking study conducted by an American job-matching service found that recruiters actually spend only six seconds, on average, surveying each resume that slips into their view. And on-line resumes aren’t the answer: the same research revealed that web-based profiles simply lure the eye to pretty pictures, and the most relevant data doesn’t leap off the screen as they might.  

Recruitment by Facebook

Given that some 90% of recruiters currently use social media to help perform their jobs, it’s an increasing no-brainer that this landscape is fertile for recruiters and employers looking to fill their ranks.

Take Facebook, for one.

No longer a conduit for poking and cat videos alone, Facebook has evolved into a fully fledged recruitment tool whose vast audience — presumably dominated by the young and highly employable — now clocks in at a staggering near billion souls. Having recently outpaced Google in the push for popularity, Facebook is now the most visited real estate on the web.

The pie

•  85% of Internet users have Facebook accounts and 74% of them visit the site daily.

• 57% of Internet users have more than 100 Facebook friends.

• According to enterprise software-as-a-service provider HireRabbit, 48% of all job seekers (and 63% of those with a profile) did social-media job-hunting on Facebook in the past year.

How to get a piece

• Launch a Facebook group to establish yourself as a hub of expertise inside the industry whose employment rosters you regularly seek to fill.

• Consider the power of the potential brand ambassadors a Facebook presence makes available to you and your cause, like the 32 million or so (and counting) users who like Starbucks or the 30 million who are fans of Red Bull.

• Given that Facebook’s variably closed status can make direct sourcing a challenge, explore external Facebook network options like Spokeo, Pipl and Wink, where users can directly search for status updates and wall posts.

• The best Facebook career pages are clean and compelling, kept dynamic with news, links, and even contests and quizzes to engage an audience.

• Remember the power of current staffers in promoting your HR requirements. The more Facebookers who post links to your page, the better your chances at finding what you need.

• Investigate the range of Facebook job-search applications — a list that’s ever expanding. Work for Us allows allows users to convert Facebook pages into customized job boards; HireRabbit is an enterprise SaaSS that promotes itself as the most dead-simple option out.

How Recruiters and Job Seekers Can Take Flight with Twitter

In the third in our series on social media and recruiting — a marriage that has eased the lot of both candidate and employer — we tackle the extraordinary and unstoppable force that is Twitter.

While still lagging behind LinkedIn (93%) and Facebook (66%) in usage stats, Twitter (54%) still beats its recruitment wings powerfully. Eight tips for riding the airstream. Read more

Personal Branding: Assuming the Reins of ME.com

You don’t have to be a breakfast cereal to be a brand (though if it helps to think of yourself as Cap’n Crunch to get the job done, go for it). You don’t have to be Kanye or Donald Trump, either. We’re all brands, you see, the lot of us, packaging our own particular basket of talents and traits up and peddling them to the employer-facing world at large in pursuit of our professional dreams. And career advisors everywhere suggest that thinking of ourselves in these terms is nothing short of the cleverest approach to job-hunting in this most unprecedented of day-and-ages.

So go ahead and regard yourself as a company, appoint yourself its chief executive officer and fall to the business of polishing its brand. By taking sole command of your personal profile thus, you deprive everyone else of doing likewise. And the sole oversight of ME.com becomes your business alone — a precious commodity when it comes to tracking down a job.

Some brand-building tips:

Remember that you’re a product, and a valuable one, at that. Present throughout this exercise should be the fierce conviction that you’re the most esteemed supplier of your particular gifts.

• Identify your expertise. Be as precise as possible in the inventory of your particular qualifications and skills. By listing your most remarkable personal traits and considering what unique contributions only you can make to your world, you single out the critical qualities that define you. Further, you establish yourself as an “expert” in an area — always a desirable label to have attached to your name.

Determine what you stand for. Consider your causes, your convictions, your personal collection of beliefs. These differentiating essentials play big into the brand you create.

• Start a blog. There’s no better way to deliver a steady stream of brand-affirming material than to maintain a busy blog. Keep the place hopping. The more Web-based content there is on your brand, the easier it is to find you. And make it easy for people to share your content with WordPress plugins.

Use social media. Certainly your would-be employer is using the stuff to check up on you — why shouldn’t you behave similarly with your brand-building advantage? Optimize your LinkedIn account and tie in Facebook, Twitter, your blog and other social network feeds.

Be consistent. Each and every interface your brand makes with a potential “customer” (i.e., a potential employer) must support the same message. Every touchpoint is a further show of reinforcement for your brand.