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People strategy

Take a Leaf Out of an HR Startup's Book and Be More Innovative

Clare Hopping

filesThe pressure to make smart and fast hires means new HR companies have to rely on their ingenuity to survive. Let’s take a look at the tactics these startups are using, as well as how established businesses can adopt them to boost their own efficiency.

While startups often struggle through a more precarious existence than established companies, they also tend to be more flexible and efficient. It might be hard to imagine how their approach could be applied to your integrated HR department, but consider this: while many HR startups target their approach to fill a narrow niche, a traditional HR team is even more narrowly specialised to serve a single business.

From your comparatively secure position, you can take advantage of new ideas generated by those living most dangerously.

Thinking Beyond the CV

It seems that the previous gold standard amongst recruitment tools, the curriculum vitae, will soon be as dead as the trees it was once printed on. The reason? Entirely new methods of employer-applicant communication are gaining in popularity.

As one study shows from the University of Minnesota Mankato, work sample testing has the best value in predicting future job performance, and Starfighters aims to employ this knowledge to bridge the gap between software engineers and recruiters.

The company has created a capture the flag-style video game, which the player controls by coding, letting them showcase their skills and talents. This gives prospective employers demonstrable proof of an applicant’s abilities, as opposed to the vague qualifications outlined in a CV.

Even HR professionals operating outside the tech industry can apply Starfighter’s ideas to hiring new talent. Increasingly, recruiters find that a portfolio or sample of relevant work offers a more accurate indication of a candidate’s suitability for a role. While lacklustre experience can be disguised by a cleverly worded CV, a quality body of work speaks for itself.

In addition to providing a new and fun platform for recruitment, Starfighter shows it understands geek culture.

In addition to adapting a beloved game format for professional purposes, the company states its privacy policy upfront (a crucial concern for programmers, who are acutely aware of the potential risks of storing personal data in the cloud) and uses an informal, irreverent tone throughout its website.

Understanding the unique cultural quirks of your industry and tailoring your approach accordingly is a great way to set yourself apart.

Time for an Upgrade?


Fairsail has developed a completely original HR management system that aims to integrate every aspect of the department’s operations into one platform. The idea of overhauling legacy systems may seem daunting, but regularly updating your practices and procedures is essential to maintaining peak efficiency.

While this may be a time- and labour-consuming process, sticking with increasingly outdated methods might end up proving to be a bigger drain on your resources in the long run.

CitrusHR is another startup providing an integrated software environment for small to mid-sized companies' HR needs. However, the firm’s main competitive advantage is that it’s an HR consultancy, with a focus on larger, long-term projects and providing comprehensive support for their software.

Integrating these two functions into one service means that the company can work with clients on a broader scale, helping them with day-to-day HR needs as well as with figuring out the bigger picture. CitrusHR's expansion of its model beyond the expected has set it apart. Could thinking beyond your own established parameters revolutionise your HR practice?

Start Me Up!

Even the most well-established businesses' HR departments stand to benefit from adopting the mindset of a startup and daring to work more creatively. LaunchPad Recruits’ video interviewing software can provide your HR department with the tools it needs to innovate and improve upon its strategy. By streamlining your internal and candidate-facing processes, LaunchPad can give your recruiting team the flexibility it needs to become a truly innovative force.

(Image credits: Olathe Human Resources/flickrgunarsg/flickr)

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.