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The 5 Best Startup Recruiter Services You Should Try

Amanda Price
6 min read

Starting a new business is never easy, regardless of the industry you're in.

In fact, it's reported that only about 80% of startups survive past the first year of operation.

So how do you ensure your business doesn't become part of the statistic? Besides having a strong business plan in place, thorough research on your market, and proper financing, your new business needs to focus on recruiting the best staff.

A startup recruiter service can help you do just that. By understanding how a startup recruiter service works, the benefits of working with one, and what to look for in the right service, you can make confident decisions for your startup company moving forward.

What Is a Startup Recruiter Service?

A startup recruiter service helps new businesses find the top talent they need to be successful. They often use a wide range of resources, including job boards, recruitment platforms, and professional networks, to find the best talent possible.

Typically, recruiting firms will receive a service fee or a percentage of a new employee's first-year salary in exchange for the services.

Even more specifically, a startup recruiter service will have the skills and expertise needed to recruit high-quality candidates efficiently — understanding the complex needs of a new company when it comes to filling gaps in staffing.

While the exact services included with a startup recruiter may vary from one company to the next, most will handle tasks such as:

  • Finding and recruiting top talent
  • Screening resumes and applications
  • Conducting further screening and interviews
  • Making hiring recommendations to startup business owners
  • Making job offers and negotiating salary/benefits

Why Use a Recruiter Service for Your Startup?

When your business is still in its earliest stages, such as before its official launch, you may be able to handle the recruiting on your own. However, as your business opening date draws near or as your business starts to evolve, you may have less free time to dedicate to recruiting new employees in-house.

Your business is also unlikely to have its own hiring manager or robust recruitment team just yet. This is the stage where many founders, presidents, and business owners realize that it's time to partner with a recruiting agency to do this important work.

By using a recruiter service for your startup, you can rest assured that you're being matched with the right talent to fill your open positions. You'll also save yourself the time and resources of manually sifting through resumes, conducting your own interview processes, and communicating with job seekers on salary negotiations.

Instead, you can rely on your recruiters to leverage their expertise on your behalf.

Advantages of Using a Startup Recruiter Service

Advantages of working with a startup recruiting service include:

  • Higher-quality hires because your executive search firm has specialized knowledge, industry expertise, and first-hand experience 
  • Better candidates due to the recruiting service's extensive networks
  • A larger, diverse pool of uniquely qualified talent
  • Saves time you would typically spend searching, screening, interviewing, and onboarding prospective employees
  • Enables you to focus on other value-add business operations
  • Graduated payment systems that may be available to offset the cost of services over time
  • High return on investment when a high-quality executive is hired

Disadvantages of Startup Recruiter Services

Some potential drawbacks of working with a recruiter service for your startup may include:

  • Higher costs or service fees than in-house recruiting
  • Potential for large up-front retainer fees
  • Possibility that an inexperienced recruiter might not understand your company well enough to tell its brand story

Learn more about how much recruitment agencies charge.

The Challenges to Recruiting In-House For Your Startup

Still not sure whether a startup recruiter service is right for your business? Some recruiting obstacles are unique to startups. If these apply to you, then it may be time to start looking for a startup recruiter service.

Startups May Lack Experience in Recruiting or Don't Have a Dedicated Recruiting Team in Place Yet

More than likely, your business is still at an early enough stage that you don't have a dedicated recruiting team or human resources department in place. Perhaps you have plans to build one down the road, but it simply hasn't been a priority at this stage of your growth.

This is typical among startups — but it also means that you may have difficulty attracting and hiring the right candidates for your open positions on your own.

By working with a startup recruitment service, you can tap into the expertise of a third-party recruitment team while continuing to prioritize other aspects of your company's development and growth.

A recruiting service like Hunt Club can handle the most important parts of recruiting for your business, including:

  • Building the recruiting funnel
  • Cultivating your brand
  • Understanding the specific skills you need
  • Learning how to find those skills in your candidates
  • Onboarding responsibly

Hunt Club's experienced recruiters possess the marketing skills, attention to detail, patience, and communication skills needed for successful startup hiring.

It's Hard to Keep Up With Competitors

When you're new to the industry, it may take some time to make a name for yourself.

As a startup, it might also be extremely difficult to offer the same level of compensation to new employees as your competition. This can make recruiting top talent a real challenge.

Fortunately, a team with plenty of recruiting experience will understand this unique challenge that startups face and find resourceful ways to compete for the best candidates.

This may include offering a more robust benefits package, focusing on the company culture, and other important factors that go beyond salary alone.

Difficulty Hiring the Right Candidates

Another challenge many startups face early on is finding candidates that are truly the right fit for the company. This is extremely important to do early on if you want to keep your growing business on track toward reaching its goals and mission without compromising values or culture.

Fortunately, this is another area where working with a professional recruiting service can make all the difference.

Startup recruiters understand how important company culture is, especially for a business that's just getting started. These recruiters will be able to locate experienced and qualified candidates whose values align with your own.

Likewise, recruiters can build inclusive and scalable hiring processes early on that will serve you and your team well in the future. This includes a recruitment strategy that prioritizes diversity and inclusion, bringing a wide range of valuable viewpoints and experiences to your team.

5 Top Startup Recruiter Services You Should Try

If you've realized that working with a startup recruiter service is right for you, you may be wondering where to begin.

We've put together a list of five of the top startup talent acquisition services to consider for your business, along with some specific features, advantages, and potential drawbacks of each.

1) Hunt Club

Imagine if CEOs worldwide could tap into their networks to help you choose your startup's next leader. That's your reality with Hunt Club, a referral-based executive and professional recruiting service.

Hunt Club was founded in 2014 as an alternative to legacy search firms. Rather than relying on outdated spreadsheets and closed professional networks, Hunt Club uses a combination of proprietary technology and established relationships with more than 20,000 subject matter experts to find the right talent for your startup.


  • Referral-based with connections to over 8 million high-quality candidates
  • Provides more than just talent acquisition services such as organizational planning, insight into compensation packages, end-to-end search advisory, and more
  • Driven by proprietary technology that automates much of the recruitment process to improve your time to hire
  • Leverages an Expert Network of more than 20,000 subject matter experts to help you find your next great hire
  • Recruiters have subject matter expertise, industry and market knowledge, and have worked in the roles you need
  • Helps you hire with diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in mind 


  • Not specific to just startup recruiting (a wide range of recruiting services is offered for all business stages)

2) Korn Ferry

If you need an experienced executive recruitment agency with locations near you but with a global reach, check out Korn Ferry. This large executive search firm has a great reputation and a large array of services, making it a good option for startups. 


  • Largest, most globally recognized executive search firm
  • Has an innovative assessment tool that ensures candidates not only have the right job qualifications but that they're also a good cultural fit
  • Powered by more than five billion data points
  • Offers services aside from recruitment (including business transformation, organization strategy, professional development, and more)


  • Can be costly
  • Large company size may be a detriment to some
  • Designed for higher-salaried executives

3) JMJ Phillip

JMJ Phillip is an executive search agency that offers rapid placement services, retained executive search, contingent recruiting, and discreet search. This firm serves multiple industry segments, ranging from manufacturing and engineering to industry supply chain and more. This is a great recruiting option for startups in these fields or other highly competitive industries.


  • Rapid placement services 
  • Both retained and contingent recruiting
  • Succession planning experts
  • Discreet retained search sets them apart
  • Proven track record in ensuring cultural fit


  • Pricing isn't very transparent
  • May not be the best choice for all industries
  • May be more than what some startups need

4) N2Growth

N2Growth consistently earns high marks from business magazines, having been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fortune, The Washington Post, and more. This startup recruitment firm boasts a unique search experience for clients, employing recruiters from across the globe to deliver the best experience and reach.


  • Board and executive search
  • Succession planning services
  • One-on-one leadership development and executive coaching services


  • Smaller agency with fewer recruiters
  • Lacks diversified segment experience
  • Non-transparent pricing

5) Ladders

If you're looking for a firm that specializes only in recruiting without any bells or whistles, Ladders may be worth a look. This recruiting service allows you to post startup jobs that will be promoted for an eight-week period. This firm also offers sourcing plans with both monthly and annual pricing available.


  • Lower costs than many full-service recruitment firms
  • Posting and sourcing plans available, depending on your needs
  • Sourcing plans include resume views, advanced search, live support, and more
  • Job postings included in weekly emails to improve reach


  • Strictly sourcing and recruitment services 
  • No retained search services
  • You still need to handle screening and interviewing yourself

Startup Recruiting Done Right With Hunt Club

Working with a startup recruitment firm is the best way to fill openings with quality candidates while you focus on other important aspects of building and growing your business. And while there are plenty of recruitment services to choose from, Hunt Club stands out with its proprietary search technology and diverse pool of eight million candidates. 

Interested in learning more about Hunt Club's model or want to get started? Reach out to our team today!

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