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4 million workers quit their jobs in April, according to the Labor Department, and only 740,000 of them worked in the leisure and hospitality industry. The Great Resignation is real, and startups should be jumping for joy!

The Pandemic has changed the way employees think about how, when, and where they want to work; along with what type of company they want to work for. Pre-Pandemic, they never questioned the 50–60-hour work week with an additional 45-minute commute one-way each day. Now, they understand there is a different way to live and that might also mean a different job and company to work for.

Post-Pandemic employees want flexibility, control over their life (and that includes work), time to maintain the close connection they’ve built with friends and family, and most importantly, they want meaningful work and to be valued. They now understand that having time to do what they love with those they love is more important than climbing the corporate ladder or having vacation time they can never find time to use. The Pandemic has shown them that there is another way to live, and they are willing to quit their jobs and wait for a better one to come along to have a better quality of life.

Startups are the perfect place for those who want a flexible schedule, a WFH situation, are looking for a different culture, and a better quality of life. Most Startups were already set up for remote work, had more flexible schedules, and were living their core values way before the word Corona became synonymous with illness and not what you drank with a lime. So how are you going to attract these experienced and under-appreciated “Great Resignationers”?

A large percentage of these disgruntled employees are coming out of Corporate America. They are subject matter experts and have more years of experience than maybe even you do as Founder, but they are looking for something different and they might just be what your startup needs to formalize and scale your company to double revenue next year. But, you probably will need to change your current hiring strategy to attract them.

Attracting Resignationers

How do you attract these “Resignationers?”

  1. Re-write your job description to speak directly to them. Start your job posting like this: “Looking for a challenging and well-paying job that provides you autonomy and the flexibility to go for a run over lunch or get your oil changed in the middle of the day? Great! Keep reading.”
  2. Be willing to look at candidates you think might be over-qualified and out of your price range. Remember- Resignationers are willing to make less money in exchange for more freedom and flexibility.
  3. Be willing to look at candidates that are looking to make an industry or career switch. I spent my first eight years out of college in the retail space. First, as a manager in a department store and then as a buyer, for what you now know as Macy’s. When I got disillusioned with my corporate job an owner of a small privately-owned SaaS company took a chance on me. I didn’t know the first thing about software or selling software, but I did have business acumen, strong negotiation skills, and eight years of leadership experience. I spent 10 years working for that owner and helping him grow his company. I’m still grateful that he took a chance on a smart and ambitious woman who knew nothing about his business.

In the first 8 months of 2021 I’ve helped my clients hire 3 SDRs, 2 AE, and a 1 VP of Sales and I’m here to tell you it hasn’t been easy. It’s a candidate's playground. They have multiple offers at 20% more income potential than before the pandemic and they have the luxury of looking beyond just salary to determine who and where they want to work. It took me 2 months to find an SDR candidate willing to come into an office in Wichita, Ks. After that long journey I strongly suggested that we allow the 2nd SDR we needed to work remotely from anywhere in the US. It took only 2 weeks to find a great candidate in GA.

Interviewing a Resignationer

I’ll be the first to tell you that not everyone will be a fit for your startup. As I’m known to say, “You must be more willow than oak” to work in a startup. So, you will need to interview to determine if a “Resignation” candidate would be a good fit for your startup. Here are some of my favorite startup fit interview questions:

  • Tell me about a time you had to make a personal sacrifice for an employer.
  • Tell me about the last time you had to teach yourself a new skill.
  • Describe a time in which you had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of the change on you? On your work or project?
  • You’ve been working on a project for a while when your manager informs you that the project’s requirements changed suddenly. How do you handle that?
  • Tell me about a time when you had too much on your plate. How did you prioritize? What did you delegate? What didn’t get done?
  • What’s your Superpower?
  • Your Manager and CEO tell you two different ways they’d like to approach a situation – how do you solve this situation/conflict?
  • Are you more likely to ask for forgiveness or permission?
  • Why do you want to come work at a startup, as opposed to an established company?

Cultural Add vs. Cultural Fit

This is a perfect opportunity to find employees that will add to your culture, not just “fit” the current culture. Studies have shown that having a diverse workplace will not only improve innovation and productivity, but it will also increase revenue and profits. Learn more here.

Moving away from a Cultural Fit mentality into a Cultural Add mentality will take work; as well as buy-in from your executive team. Cultural Fit hiring is comfortable for most people because they hire people just like them. Hiring employees that will add to the company culture will take some getting used to. Explain to your team that people with disabilities, different upbringings, and who have had different personal and professional experience will not just make your company a better, more well-rounded place but will most likely make your product better as well, thus increasing revenue.

Startups are the perfect landing spot for many people whose lives and desires were completely altered by the Pandemic. Use your company’s culture, values, and flexible work schedule and location to attract ready, willing, and able employees that want more than their current company is willing to provide.