3 Challenges and Solutions of Global Hiring for Startups

According to the ELA (European Labor Authority), Europe has experienced a significant shortage in software professionals, toolmaking, and contact information staff. The reason? Tech is booming in Europe: the number of unicorns increased from 44 to 81 in 2021, and these new companies compete for limited European talent. The “small but mighty” Baltics region is a part of this European tech boom. There were 1039 startups in Lithuania by the year 2020. 

Because of this competition for tech talent, European startups started looking for ways to recruit, hire, and pay workers from other countries and continents. But international hiring comes with its own share of challenges, which our friends from Deel want to share in this article. 

1. Compliance with foreign labor laws

When hiring abroad, a company must create employment contracts fully compliant with the worker’s home country, as well as the country where the company is registered. Employment laws vary from country to country on several different levels:

  • Statutory employee benefits
  • Minimum wages
  • Vacation and sick leave requirements
  • Employee termination regulations
  • Employee classification laws

For example, no law requires an employment contract between an employee and the employer in the US. The employer must provide specific info regarding employee benefits and rights to the worker, but it doesn’t need to be in writing. The same goes for Portugal or Spain, where verbal agreements are valid. But in Lithuania, Norward, or Moldova, every employee must have a written contract compliant with that country’s labor laws.

Another example: in most European countries, paid time off is mandatory. But the US has no law that requires employers to provide it.

3 ways startups hire workers compliantly

Differences in laws and regulations can be an issue for startups that don’t have a robust HR department. Limited resources may not allow you to research employment laws everywhere you hire. If that’s the case, you can choose among the three ways to hire foreigners without relocating them.

  1. Open a local foreign subsidiary. A foreign subsidiary is a legal entity you open in another country to hire employees there legally. Subsidiaries are a long-term solution for businesses that want to establish a presence in a new country. But for most startups, it’s probably too costly and time-consuming.
  2. Hire independent contractors instead of employees. Hiring contractors is more manageable than hiring employees because you don’t have to comply with nearly as many tax and labor laws. Be aware of worker misclassification, which penalizes companies for hiring contractors but treating them like employees.
  3. Hire employees through an employer of record (EOR). EORs are organizations that hire employees (in other countries) and pay them on your behalf. EORs generate locally compliant contracts, run background checks, handle employment taxes, run payroll, etc. Hiring through an EOR is quick and safe and allows you to broaden your talent pool while ensuring you don’t run any compliance risks.

2. Data security and GDPR compliance

When hiring citizens of EU countries, startups must ensure their employees’ data protection and privacy in compliance with GDPR standards to avoid penalties and fines. 

Hiring outside the EU means you’ll have to ensure compliance according to those countries’ rules. Australia, for example, has the APA (Australian Privacy Act). In Latin America, several countries have similar data protection and privacy laws.

Many startups find the process of understanding those laws, let alone complying with them, overwhelming. Hiring foreign employees through an EOR removes the burden of data security compliance for your global team. Well-equipped EORs use multiple strategies to ensure data security, such as:

  • Regular system scans and tests to ensure protection layers are functional
  • Encryption to prevent hackers from reading the data in case of a breach
  • Limited employee access to sensitive data and authorize only necessary staff
  • Single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and other security measures
  • SOC2 compliance

3. Global payroll and taxes

International payroll involves:

  • Paying foreign employees’ wages
  • Administering employee benefits
  • Paying local taxes
  • Keeping payroll records

Let’s zoom into a couple of significant challenges for international payroll and taxes:

Payment methods and standards across borders

Paying your employees becomes more complicated when money moves across borders. You need to make sure your payment method is available in both countries, and you must account for currency exchanges and fees.

SWIFT (wire transfer) may be the safest option and supports all currencies, but the fees are pretty hefty. On the other hand, digital wallets, typically more affordable, may not be available everywhere around the globe.

Most companies in Lithuania and Europe pay their employees monthly. But in the US or the Philippines, employees usually receive their pay semi-monthly. Paying US employees semi-monthly sounds simple enough. But consider that you’ll pay fees for international money transfers twice a month.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the web of complexities when it comes to global payroll. Fun fact: some countries, like Greece or Argentina, also have an additional pay period called the 13th salary, considered mandatory.

Payroll taxes in foreign countries

When you hire a foreign, salaried employee, you need to pay payroll taxes for their income. Tax regulations vary by country, so you have to learn about the employee’s country’s tax laws, deadlines, forms, rates, etc. In most countries, employers provide statutory employee benefits (like social security or health insurance) through taxes, in compliance with local labor laws. Any incomplete forms or missed deadlines may lead to financial and legal penalties.

Payroll taxes typically depend on where the employee resides and generates the income. If you hire someone from Germany, German tax laws will apply. Tax treaties prevent double taxation in this case. Lithuania has tax treaties with 57 countries, which means the employee’s income is subject to taxes either in Lithuania or the other country, not both.

If you don’t have a subsidiary and don’t want to relocate the new employee, the best way to stay compliant and meet tax requirements is through the employer of record. Luckily, employers of record take care of taxes by automating calculations, collecting, and filing tax forms instead of you.

Deel and global hiring challenges

Global compliance + international payroll = a recipe for a headache. Especially for startups trying to become profitable and putting out fires on the go. But hiring great people at the beginning is the key to growth, and sometimes, you’ll find those great people outside your borders.

Deel is a self-service platform that lets you efficiently manage your global workforce, make mass payments, and onboard new hires. It helps companies hire contractors or employees, do it hassle-free, without worrying about compliance risks, taxes, extensive paperwork, contract provisions, and deadlines. Request a demo here.

How to Make Your First Technical Hire if You Are Not a Technical CEO

Hiring the first engineer can be an arduous task for a CEO who doesn’t have any technical skills but wants to make a great idea a reality. For professionals coming from different disciplines, engineering often looks like witchcraft, so no wonder questions on how to choose the best person for the role occur on the way. You’re in the right place - we’ll try to touch on the most common ones. Read on.

How to source the best talent

We don’t want to scare you, but hiring your first technical team member should be taken seriously from the very beginning. If done right, this person can become a technical co-founder. Either way, the first technical hire will have a lot of influence on the future developments of your company.

“Your first add to the technical team is very important as it will greatly influence the team's future culture and processes. That's why in such situations, my main priorities are always experience, proactiveness, and strong cultural fit. Ignore the fact you might do well enough with a junior-mid level specialist or closed personality - you should think long-term and how this will affect your 2nd, 3rd and all future hires to the technical team,” - Julius Gregorauskas, the CEO of Cloudvisor shared his tip.

OK, so what’s next? The best idea (and perhaps the most logical one) would be to talk to someone you’ve collaborated with in the past (and you think he/she is cool). However, this is not always an option. Talking to friends and past colleagues might help, too. You can also try places like Workinstartups or CoFoundersLab.

Show that you can make things happen

When pitching your idea for a candidate, don’t start with “I have this great product idea, and I just need someone to build it”. Unless you have a proven track record of great success in the past, this probably won’t sell. Even mediocre engineers are constantly pitched for new jobs, and most of those jobs would pay more than you can.

How about saying something like, “I have an MVP built with a few paying customers, now I would like to add extra features,” sounds way better, right? Because it shows you can get stuff done under not-so-ideal conditions. Look for recommendations, or again, try searching online for a freelancer or an agency to help develop an MVP before making your first technical hire.

Players, not coaches

Your new hire needs to start contributing right away for a company to scale. If you find that a VP of Engineering candidate won't, or can't start in the trenches - don’t hire the person. Your first technical hires should always be able and willing to work hands-on, and in a couple of years, senior specialists can orient themselves more towards the management.

To conclude, hiring is one of the most challenging tasks in company building. Even in the best-laid plans, you won’t always get it right, but following these steps will make you confident that you are doing everything to avoid any common pitfalls.

Building a startup means you’ll be thrown a challenge after a challenge. To make your life a little easier, Amazon Web Services program AWS Activate offers startups free tools, resources, and more to get started. As an official scout of AWS Activate, Cloudvisor can help you get these free resources to grow your business. Learn more and fill the application form here.

Emotional Health: How To Prevent And Cure Burnout In Your Startup Team

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the society has to deal not only with unexpected health or economic challenges but also with psychological issues. A year spent in lockdown has taught many to adapt to the new daily routine, although data of the State Patients Fund (SPF) suggests that the number of people seeking medical help because of depression and anxiety has increased by 10 percent compared to 2019. Health experts believe that these numbers are not accurate and could in fact be much higher as many people do not dare seeking medical help.

Mental health experts notice that the level of stress, anxiety, emotional distress and burnout during the pandemic has grown exponentially and is now taking its toll on the work of individual employees and on the overall corporate performance. Sicknesses of the working population cost the most for the society because on top of direct costs of treatment indirect costs of days on sick leave or lost productivity shall be added as well. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), development and implementation of mental health policies and occupational programmes is beneficial to the staff health, boosts corporate productivity and contributes to the wellbeing of the society.

The burnout syndrome is a problem of the modern times

“People work best when they feel at their best, are self-reliant, motivated, creative, able to focus and devote as much energy as is necessary for their job. It is for this reason that a growing number of organisations is looking for the ways how to help their staff to maintain a good emotional health” chief of human resources of CAST AI start-up Austėja Žymantaitė said. 

One of the most acute problems currently faced by staff is emotional burnout. In particular, young employees are mostly vulnerable (aged 18–24) as they are much keener to overwork, do not have good time planning skills or a well-secured financial status. 

“The burnout syndrome is a disease of highly responsible, empathic and sensitive people. These people do not afford themselves enough time to recuperate, as they can always discover some urgent tasks that need to be done at the expense of free time. I would like to stress that a person may sometimes fail to notice when it is time to slow down, which is why it is very important for the closest family members or colleagues to come to the rescue. Within our organisation we promote the culture of openness among our staff by encouraging people to speak up, not to hide emotions or anxiety, and to look for ways out of problematic situations or avoiding new ones. It is very important that our staff is aware that emotional health is not a topic to be ashamed of or to be stigmatised for”, A. Žymantaitė added.

The key symptoms of burnout are as follows: emotional exhaustion, long-lasting physical and emotional fatigue, sadness, disrupted self-esteem, lower satisfaction at work, cynicism, the sense of professional dissatisfaction. Doctors agree that the syndrome is a consequence of an extended period of emotional stress at work, which, if not diagnosed timely, may lead to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Possibilities of emotional health – on your smart phone

An increasing number of organisations in Lithuania are becoming aware of the importance of staff’s mental health and are taking various measures to facilitate good mental health. These measures can take the form of various psychological lectures or seminars offered to employees, or various workshops, or medical insurance policies covering consultations by a psychotherapist. Technological solutions are increasingly popular and so are various applications available on smart phones allowing to monitor your own emotional state and get access to help whenever and wherever you are. 

A. Žymantaitė is happy to note that CAST AI staff is taking care of its own mental health with the help of Mindletic application. “The application suggests different techniques which allow predicting and preventing burnout, anxiety and may reduce stress regardless of the person’s location at the moment. With just a few clicks of a button application users can anonymously reflect on their emotions, receive exhaustive personal reports, make use of personalised recommendations given by psychologists that have been generated on the basis of emotions mentioned during the reflection, may educate  themselves with the help of educational content and train their emotional muscle in the same way they train their body, i.e., in an individual training, within a community or with a certified psychologists at a private conversation.”

According to the author of the application Ieva Vaitkevičiūtė, in the face of the crisis there is a growing demand for togetherness, particularly on the emotional level: “We have developed a tool which helps to attain balance with yourself individually as well as brings together other people going through the same emotional state. Nowadays a larger part of the world is going through an unprecedented and unique situation. All emotions felt during this period will have one common denominator. We would like people to know that they are not alone in this situation and can offer them a safe environment to help them regain their balance.”

Ways for overcoming stress

I. Vaitkevičiūtė gave some advice that could help reduce work-related stress and avoid burnout:

  1. Physical activity. For many of us work has moved from office to home space, resulting in less movement and exercises by the majority of people. Nobody is expecting someone to run a marathon or learn some sophisticated yoga poses. It is recommended to spend at least thirty minutes every day walking outside or doing some exercises. Movement helps your body and mind to relax, and distracts from exhausting daily tasks dominating your day.
  2. Quality sleep. Our body needs time to rest and to recuperate, which makes healthy sleeping habits very important for your emotional state. It is recommended to avoid intake of fluids before sleep containing caffeine and alcohol, not to use your mobile phone in bed and to follow a daily routine of going to bed and waking up in at the same time, practice relaxation before sleep, such as medication, breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, and daily reflection.
  3. Self-observation. Try to observe your own emotions and various reactions, and take note of the situations that trigger them. As we observe our emotions we may identify certain recurrent situations, our behaviour, reactions, and by building on the observed behavioural trends decide which behaviour we would like to change and how we are going to regain our mental balance as we do it. It is our emotional balance, in particular, rather than short-lived moments of happiness that help us lead a unique, sustainable and more fulfilling life. 
  4. Talk to others and do not be on your own. Sharing your personal emotions with others also helps us reflect on where I am today and where I would like to be tomorrow. People around you may help you reflect certain trends in your behaviour or simply create space for your personal self-reflection leading to later changes towards mental balance. Is it more often than not that it is easier to share your emotions with complete strangers, which makes such tools as Mindletic community rooms a safe space to look for answers to your questions, analyse your situations and look for like-minded people for self-development. 

Thanks for sharing such useful tips in these crazy times, CAST.AI and Mindletic team!

The Need For Professional Development And Expertise Enhancement Encourages Entrepreneurial People To Organise Specialised Group Meetings

Can you image employees from competing companies meeting together, sharing a pizza, and discussing the best professional practices? With this idea in mind, meetups are being organised for the purpose of knowledge sharing and professional development in a given area. What seemed to be highly unlikely a few years ago has now become interesting for as many as 50 million people representing registered users of the community meeting platform, known as Meetup.

The emergence of such meetups has raised many eyebrows among the heads of corporate human resources who were afraid of this trend potentially becoming a pretext for headhunting their best talents by their competitors. It seemed impossible that entire businesses would open up to each other to share their best practices and to enrich their body of knowledge which you cannot always find in textbooks. The growing popularity of such events has demonstrated that this is how a completely new corporate culture of entire industries is currently being built, while the knowledge gained is transferred and used to achieve better corporate results. 

Meetups always follow a similar pattern – communities organise get-togethers for their members on a selected relevant topic. At the beginning of a meetup, experts, professionals, and mentors of the relevant field are invited to share their insights; in the discussion that follows all participants of the meetup are welcome to join.

Rokas Bilevičius and Žilvinas Urbonas – software engineers of Cast AI startup which is developing a multi-cloud platform – are frequent participants of meetups intended for IT professional communities. Both software engineers argue that the professional expertise and the body of knowledge they have acquired encourage them to share their ideas, which is why they were happy to join Meetup and become speakers in these gatherings.

“During the January 20th Golang Vilnius virtual presentation, I shared the Cast AI success story: how we started to build a multi-cloud platform from scratch, what was the software, methods, and tools used in the process, what types of solutions proved to be worthy and what mistakes we have made. I was pleasantly surprised by the huge interest among the participants and the abundance of questions we got after our presentation. The meeting took longer than expected, but we responded to all questions. And there have been many of them – from highly specific, asking to clarify on a number of points touched upon during our presentation, to very broad ones, such as why do we like the Golang programming language. We were happy to get one question even from the United States, the state of California. Greater involvement of the participants was, perhaps, one of the major differences between virtual and live meetings. It may well be that it is less stressful to ask a question if you can hide behind your keyboard. In live meetings, all these questions would usually move into an unofficial part, where you can talk to your colleagues face to face while networking. This is the part of live events I missed the most”, said Rokas.

Rokas’ colleague Žilvinas is to share his experience during January 28th meetup organised by the Cloud Native Lithuania community. He is going to tell about the open-code software Kubernetes used by Google. Žilvinas argues that preparation for such virtual presentations is a challenge even for professionals, who seem to be highly knowledgeable about the topic they are going to cover.

“There is so much information I would like to share which can hardly fit into a 45-minute presentation. People come to such meetups with various experiences, so the greatest challenge for me is to summarise what I want to say to make my talk interesting and relevant for a broader audience”, said Žilvinas.

Head of HR at Cast AI Austėja Žymantaitė claims that active involvement of staff in community activities has a lot of positive impact on the organisation itself – staff act as ambassadors of their companies and contribute to building a positive corporate image. 

“Within our company, we always encourage our employees to participate in various seminars, workshops, or professional development courses. In addition, we focus a lot on the very process of professional development by earmarking specific amount of funds for each member of our staff who can spend them at their own discretion by investing into their own preferred studies”, said Austėja.

 Thanks, Cast AI for sharing your example!

Employee Confidentiality vs. Non-competition: TOP 5 Tips

New businesses may struggle to keep their innovation a secret. In addition, key employees leaving the company may cause a lot of harm by working with a competitor. Even worse, a former employee may start competing business and undercut former employer with cheaper price and/or better service. How to tackle these issues effectively?

Choose wisely

It is important to note that confidentiality (otherwise known as NDA) agreements and non-compete agreements address different issues. While NDAs prevent employees from spilling out the company’s client attraction strategy at the bar, these agreements do not prevent employees from seeking additional employment (even with competitor). On the other hand, non-compete agreements prohibit seeking additional employment but do not forbid disclosure of confidential information. One caveat: the employer shall pay a compensation of 40% of the employee’s average monthly salary for each month the employee is prohibited from competing, while confidentiality obligation requires no additional compensation. A lot of companies opt to conclude NDAs with their employees, however conclusion of both agreements could be a winning strategy in some cases.

Create a list

NDA is worthless if the employees do not know what information is considered confidential. Unfortunately, a provision indicating that all information is confidential will not stand a chance in court. For this reason, confidential information, commercial secrets, and other types of sensitive information should be identified by drawing up a list. This way, in case of a dispute, the employee will have a hard time proving that he did not know a particular type of information was confidential.

Let the employees know

Did you know that 90% of claims fall apart because there was a signature missing? The golden rule when introducing any policies or agreements to the employees is to actually take the time to explain their significance and get employee’s signature (or at least email confirmation). This way it will be clear that the employees have read the documents and understood their content.

Set reminders

It is a common misconception that once agreements are signed and policies are introduced, the job is done. This is far from the truth. Do not let your NDAs and non-compete agreements gather dust in a drawer, remind the employees of their content once in a while. The company’s culture plays a huge part in employees’ behaviour and if they see that little significance is given these agreements, they will be more likely to breach them.


Sometimes clients ask me “But how do I know if there was a breach of an NDA or a non-compete agreement?” A breach can be detected only by being alert to the behaviour of employees while they are working in the company and by monitoring their professional lives once they leave the company. It is important not to cross boundaries of personal data protection, however, taking a look at their public social media posts can be a good indicator whether they are working with a competitor.

The article is written by Jovita Valatkaitė, Senior Associate at COBALT.

The Ultimate Guide to Hire and Retain Tech Talent

These days, having tech talent in a workforce is crucial for every type of company, no matter their field. Pharmaceutical companies, for example, rely on software engineers and data scientists to develop brands.

However, not all entrepreneurs are techies – they don’t necessarily understand everything about tech jobs, so they need to know that the recruitment process is different for tech talent. It must be noted that retaining the right talent is vital to the success of a company that relies on technology.

Here, we’ve created a complete guide to show you some of the most fundamental steps to hire and retain tech talent. 

Identify Company Goals

When looking to hire tech professionals, you must understand their job scopes and responsibilities. For example, a data scientist is responsible for acquiring information on how your customers respond to advertisements for your products. It is essential to understand the requirements and responsibilities of that specific tech professional that you’re hiring. This way, it’ll be easier to identify the best matches for your project. 

To do this, you need to determine your company’s goals and what you want to achieve. You can explain this to someone in the tech field, and they’ll let you know what type of programming language, tool, or platform you need to achieve this. This way, you’ll know which skills you need to look for in the aspirants.

Consider Hiring a CTO

If your company is reliant on technology, you may consider getting a chief of technology (CTO). This professional is in charge of managing your company’s technical needs. 

Hiring a CTO is particularly essential for companies that highly depend on tech talent. If you’re not tech-savvy, your CTO, or even a technical co-founder, will make the process of recruiting tech talent easier for your company. CTOs work as a bridge between tech talent and non-techie members of the company.

Get Consultant Help

This is a great thing to do if you’re not proficient with technology. A consultant will help you identify which skills you need for a job position, types of soft skills aspirants need to have, and how you can find the right match. 

Getting help from a consultant is also good because they can even help you test aspirants and present challenges they’ll see in your company. You can also find online skill testing platforms, but since they’re usually generic, they won’t be as accurate as creating tests based on the project’s needs.

Always Be Clear

Don’t let them have any doubts about their job positions, what you require of them, and the goals you have with your project. Designating proper job titles is also essential. Otherwise, miscommunication and confusion may arise that could create a hurdle for your projects. Job candidates must know what they should be doing. Let them know the timeframe that you have for each assignment and also consider the differences in timezones if you hire a remote worker.

Be Open to Referrals

Referrals are another great way to find tech talent if you’re not a tech professional. Always be open to references for your company. Maybe you’re currently working with someone from the tech field already, and they know someone who can efficiently work with software engineering, for instance. This will be an excellent way to find the right match, and you can get an idea of the quality of their job from that specific referral.

Use the Freelance Recruiting Method

Most companies are used to hiring talent with the same process: they check resumes, select the best matches, do an interview, and hire the professional they like. However, this doesn’t give you enough insights into how they will act in the work field. There’s a better method for this: freelance recruiting. You can create a one-time project and hire freelancers, this way you’ll have some idea of their tech skills, whether they’re able to meet deadlines, and their level of communication.

Scout Talents at Hackathons

A hackathon is an event where software engineers get together to collaborate on a particular project. They create software or other types of digital products such as websites or mobile apps with a specific purpose. 

You should go to hackathon events and look out for any tech talent you want to hire for a project your company is working on. Many companies around the world use this method to scout for top-notch tech talent.

How to Retain Tech Talent

Since this is a very competitive field, you want to make sure that your tech employees are happy with their job. Today, there are countless web developers who want to quit their job because they found a better opportunity. So, it is important that you identify the things that make employees happy and comfortable at work. Make sure you cater to their needs and remember that it’s not all about the salary. Sometimes having a great work environment is something that will help you retain tech talent.

Offer Career Development

Tech employees are life-long learners, so they appreciate that you help them learn new skills, improve their careers and expand their knowledge. By investing in coding bootcamps, a scholarship program, or any kind of capacity building initiative, you’re providing them with something that will boost their careers. So be open to offering career development.

Allow Remote Working

Most tech workers are used to working from home, so this is something they may appreciate. If your company is flexible with remote working, you’re more likely to retain tech talent. And if you’re not prepared to work entirely remotely with your employees, you can always offer them a few days of the month to work from home.

The article is written by Career Karma. 

5 Tips for Creating Efficient Organizational Structures, Pay Grades and Job Level Systems

Most businesses at some point in their lifespan implement methods for the management of their organizational structures, position levels, and salaries. These concepts are often confused because of the partial overlap they have. Following are definitions, examples, and a few tips on avoiding confusion and ineffective use of related systems.

Organizational structure is mainly a hierarchy that defines the chain of command, promotes communication, and shows the possible ways of career growth for the staff. It is usually represented by a graphical chart. There are four main types of such hierarchies – functional, divisional, matrix and flat. Here is an example of such structure:

Pay grade system is also a hierarchical structure, where a grade represents a specific salary range and is used in an effort to refer to it more easily. It is usually a ruler like scale, say from 1 to 20. So, instead of mentioning the salary band of a position, like 13-16k, organization can use a grade 3, etc. These grades sometimes also have an assigned description of required seniority or experience to reach it, however, as we will discuss later, that might have important limitations. Here is an example of a simple pay grade system:

Job level or position evaluation system is partially hierarchical as well but in a limited way. It helps management and employees to understand positions, their requirements, responsibilities, used tools, differences between seniority levels etc. There are mainly two ways to evaluate positions: by matching to a catalogue filled with job descriptions, like the ones posted in advertisements, or by using a more in-depth process of analyzing criteria. Here is an example of the former:

Even though these are three similar concepts, their purposes are quite different, as are the methods to implement them. Working with many businesses and the systems they have, allows us to identify which methods work efficiently and which become impractical. Our experience shows that even a specialist, without the expertise in HR field is able to create efficient systems, if a few main principles are followed.

Keep it simple, it is going to be used across the board

While huge organizational structures can also become difficult to put on one chart, this is especially important for job evaluation and pay grade systems. Do not forget that they will be used not only by the HRs or the top executives, but managers, team leads and everyone else. Complicated systems also mean that training is probably going to be required for the newly hired managers. It is therefore essential to ensure that the chosen solution is as intuitive and easy to understand as possible. Overly complicated or ungrounded methods will raise questions like “why is my salary grade 8 and not 9”, “why is a senior accountant assigned a grade 12, but a senior tester 14, when they are both senior positions?”,  “why does our job evaluation scale start at 4 and not 1?”.

Example (job levels): Indeed, why not start from one? Let us say that level 1 is for junior, 2 for mid, 3 for senior, 4 for lead etc. This is very intuitive and easy to understand.

Example (pay grades): Similarly as with job levels, we can start at pay grade 1 for the lowest salary range and go up, or, perhaps it is easier when the grade reflects the median of a salary range, so grade 13 would represent the 12-14k salary range etc.

Want the junior level to start at 10 or the pay grade at 200? That is fine but be ready to explain the reasons behind it to your middle management, team leads, and other curious employees. There are many solutions out there already, so if you are choosing one of them, study it and make sure you understand it enough to be able to explain it to your colleagues.

Job evaluation system should reflect the specifics of different jobs. That is the main point of having it. Going back to the 4 seniority levels mentioned in the previous example - this should not be a standard for all positions. Some job functions have different number of seniority levels, that start from an assistant and go up to the level of director, like in sales. The opposite is true for the positions that have a rather narrow scale of seniority, like say, a Product layout specialist. So, identify these levels for each of your positions and implement a leveling method that does not ignore them. You can always choose a ready-made market job catalogue, that will have the most common jobs already classified into levels. Also you might want consider introducing half levels to better suit the positions that are in the transitioning stage between any two levels, but do not go overboard – with each such addition the complexity goes up as well as the administration time.

Decentralization - distinctions are important

There are quite a few cases where these systems (organizational structure, pay grade system and job leveling system) are merged. Some do this for the sake of simplicity, others – unintentionally. Thread carefully, as doing so and forgetting their essential differences can result in something that instead of simplifying the processes will do all of them equally poorly. Decentralization of concepts and processes sometimes keeps the essential clarity and order. This is closely related to tip no. 1 about keeping it simple and the following tips about flexibility, global methods, and favorite solutions.

Example: Referring to the initial illustrative examples above, instead of having clearly defined System Analysis job levels 1, 2 etc. and relevant pay grades alongside them, organizations sometimes choose to have just the pay grades, that try to reflect both – job levels and the salary ranges, at the same time. While this may seem like a good idea first, it is difficult to implement and might become confusing. What if a position is not complex, but the specialists are rare in the market and thus expensive to recruit? On one hand the grade should be higher because of the higher salary, on the other, it should still reflect that the position is not really that complex. This is especially bad for businesses that have a variety of job functions. So, what is the solution? Keep the theory-based job evaluation and market-based pay grade systems separate.

It should be flexible and easily amendable

Any system is only as good as it is efficient when working under pressure, dealing with exceptional cases or changes. And things are destined to change over time - positions and their responsibilities change, new managers replace the old ones and often want to make amendments. Over the hundreds of organizations that we look at each year, the worst functioning systems are the ones that are both - complicated and unable to adapt.

Some organizations waste a huge amount of resources and time crafting super specific and massive systems that suit the current situation perfectly, but collapse under their own weight as soon as quick changes need to be introduced. This is particularly the case for salary ranges – if a very strict and narrow range is assigned to a position, sooner or later you might have to choose between to hiring a key talent with a higher salary, or following your own set of strict rules.

Global methods

Working with international methods is great when they are suitable for the country or the market you operate in, however that is often not the case. Because most of them are made to appeal to all markets at once, some of these methods are too general and lack detail, others might not reflect the current market situation in your area. Also, with regards to flexibility, if your organization is using some of these methods by the book, then you are likely unable to update or bend them to better suit your current situation. A great thing about having your own system is that you can easily alter it and keep it up to date, without having to wait for someone to do it for you.

Whether you choose to implement your own systems, or use one of the existing ones, always keep yourself open to alternatives. After working with a single solution for a while you might think that it is the best out there, but new solutions and tools are created each year, so stay up to date.

The article is written by Fontes. 

How to Attract TOP Talent to Your Startup

Your company may be on the small side, but your ambitions are big. Your business idea may be new, but your dreams go back much further. Precisely because of this, you need to bring the brightest people in their field together to realise your goals and take one step closer to the ‘unicorn side’.

Yes, we’re talking about startups and how to attract the best talent for continued success. 

Here are some tips and ideas for attracting and also retaining talent at your startup. 

Have a mission, have a goal, have a dream

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” This is what John Scully, President of Pepsi at the time, was asked at a job interview with a newbie startup in 1983.  

After turning Pepsi into one of the world’s most successful brands, Scully surprisingly accepted the offer and started working at this startup. That company was Apple. His new partner and also the interviewer who asked the previous question was Steve Jobs.

When your startup has a goal, a mission and a vision, it’s more likely to attract the right talent. In addition to other factors like salary, reputation and perks, what acts like a magnet for most people is meaning. Aren’t we all looking for something meaningful in what we do at work as well as in life?

If your startup has a mission and you manage to externalise it through your communications, people will see it and simply want to be part of this dream.

Would an example be great? Here is an open line from Bolt!

Make your company culture fun and engaging

Let’s be honest. Would you want to come to the office every day and work with your team if you were an employee at your startup? If you were a remote worker, would you open your laptop every morning with the same joy and delight?

The key to attracting the best talent as well as retaining it is creating a relaxed, engaging, and fun workplace, where people are free to express their ideas and can learn from each other.

If you encourage your team with inspiring and challenging projects to give their all to, the outcomes would be amazing. You’d be surprised to see the real potential of your own team. 

You can see examples of fun and an engaging work environment here in Scoro’s Instagram account.

In their job posts, Scoro shares photos from the office life; the Scoro team having fun, enjoying delicious snacks, and an office cutie working with them.

Perks, perks, and perks

If you’re a startup owner or a co-founder, this won’t come as a surprise to you: one in three millennials prefer working at startups, and they choose startups over big corporations.

For generation Z and millennials, the usual suspects that come along with a successful job offer such as a competitive salary, private insurance, and vacation time are not really that enticing. They are looking for a work environment where they can express their creativity more freely and can find a space to relax and have fun in too. 

This leads us to the colourful world of perks.

[caption id="attachment_6865" align="aligncenter" width="578"] Kodan from Finland is offering creative perks to their employees![/caption]

To attract talent and always keep the happiness level high, be generous and creative at offering perks to your current and future team. They may be sports, education, flexible hours, team events, free food or anything that will add to the physical and mental health of your employees. 

If you’re curious about what the companies on MeetFrank are offering as perks, have a look at our insights page. Estonian companies hiring software engineers are offering the perks below nowadays:

The more perks you offer, the more your team will act as the chief evangelists of your startup and sing its praises.

This is what Kodan, a Finland-based company specialising in web development and interface design offers its employees: extensive dental care, insurance benefits, remote work, and flexible working hours and tuition reimbursement for those looking to advance their education.

This brings us to the next topic which is…

Let your startup culture and goals be heard

Are you using your communication channels effectively? Are you just posting news about your products or also including some fun and insightful moments from the office?

Social media isn’t just for fun anymore, especially for startups. Successful use of your communication channels enables you not only to find new customers but also attract new talent. 

Here is an example of TransferWise and how the company is using their Instagram account.

[caption id="attachment_6867" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] A typical day at TransferWise[/caption]

In that sense, every platform is valuable.  Adding a couple of fun photos that reflect your startup culture to your job posting on the MeetFrank app can significantly increase your chances of getting noticed by job seekers. 

Keep this in mind before posting any offers. Talking about job offers…

Make your offer attractive and engaging

A job post is a great opportunity for you to express your startup’s mission, vision, and work culture. This is the place where you can freely talk about your company values beyond sharing information about the position

So, seize the opportunity; tell job seekers why this role and company will be the best choice for them and what you’re offering them.

Make your startup’s value proposition clear, drive excitement, so job seekers will want to learn more about your awesome company. And always add some fun elements like engaging visuals.

[caption id="attachment_6868" align="aligncenter" width="1046"] A great visual example from Solution Architect[/caption]

Be creative in the text and be generous in using photos that show what is waiting for the lucky candidate at your startup. Have a look at our blog post on how to add an outstanding job opening to MeetFrank for more tips!

Want to see a successful example? Here is an example from MeetFrank!

Hire great talent to attract more talent

Great minds attract each other. The more bright people you have in your team, the more will want to be part of it.

So, they can learn from each other and grow together. The best talent not only adds to the company brand but also contributes to the motivation of the whole team and helps attract more talent.

[caption id="attachment_6869" align="aligncenter" width="1120"] Isn’t this photo of Microsoft telling a lot about diversity and talent?[/caption]

Your startup is more than your product, your site, or your communication channels. You have the chance to define it with your people as well.

Hire through innovative channels

Today, traditional companies are trying to find ways to compete against mission-driven startups and taking after their approach to innovation and creativity. 

So, why not be outstanding and innovative in everything you do, including the recruitment channels?

As the Canadian philosopher, Marshall McLuhan put it, “The medium is the message”. Where you share your job posting matters as much as what you say there.

Experiment with different platforms discovers where the best talent comes through and see how many qualified applicants each channel brings. The idea is, if you hire through innovative channels (one of which is MeetFrank ✌️), you increase your chances of reaching out to the best talent out there!

50% off on all plans until the end of 2020 for all new sign-ups

As of today, MeetFrank is collaborating with 427 number of startups from Estonia and Lithuania to the US and the UK. 68 of them are game-changers from Lithuania.

Since its foundation in 2017, we have posted 2054 job openings for startups in various industries. 

Companies such as the Estonian unicorn Bolt, Microsoft, Monese, Whatagraph, KEVIN, and Zyro are already hiring top talent with MeetFrank.

Tips From jobRely: Best Practices For Reaching Key Players In a Digital World

After the development of an MVP, every startup wants to scale. It means getting traction, attracting employees, and most often raising investment in order to fuel the first two. This article offers some advice on how to do that with the help of LinkedIn and email automation.

Why LinkedIn and email?

Before we go any further, why not LinkedIn or email? Since we are speaking about cold outreach, communication via LinkedIn messaging has certain advantages over email. First, you can check quickly who is writing by taking a look at the sender’s profile (hence the importance of polishing your LinkedIn page). If the message is coming from a Founder/CEO, people will be more likely to respond, even if negatively. Second, LinkedIn inbox tends to be cleaner, because it lacks newsletter subscriptions, intra-company chatter, and whatever else that clogs your corporate inbox. Third, LinkedIn InMails arrive not only on LinkedIn’s own messaging platform but on email inbox too. This is why we notice higher response rates to outreach via LinkedIn messaging in regards to job offers, investor pitches, and sales proposals.

However, there are disadvantages too. LinkedIn is less regularly used than email (40% of users visit the site daily, but average usage is only 17 minutes a month). Therefore, to maximize the response rates to your outreach campaigns, we recommend to start your communication sequences on LinkedIn and then jump to email for a final push.

Why automation?

To find an employee that you like and who is keen to jump ship using a direct approach via LinkedIn and email you will need to reach out to a few hundred people (provided everyone on the contact list is someone you are interested to talk to). To find investors and new clients, you may have to source and write to thousands of recipients. Considering that a campaign includes 4 touches to solicit a response (LinkedIn connect request, a follow-up message, InMail, and email), you are looking at a huge number of messages to be sent out to. When you add to that response management and keeping track of different threads and follow-ups, it’s easy to see that this is a task that requires some form of automation.

There are a plethora of email marketing platforms and LinkedIn automation tools. However, those that integrate these two channels into seamless campaigning across both are rare. Most such tools have a learning curve and have to be set up, maintained, and trouble-shooted, therefore don’t expect that automation is a holy grail that works with a push of a button. It is thus prudent to consider using such tools yourself or outsourcing to someone who can deliver results. 

Finding employees using LinkedIn and email automation

Finding employees and reaching out to them using LinkedIn and email automation begins with sourcing. There are many specialized platforms on the internet dedicated to engineers, doctors, and other professionals, but let’s consider LinkedIn, which is the most ubiquitous. Even with a paid account of LinkedIn Recruiter or similar, sourcing a few hundred profiles that fit who you are looking for is a task that is only deceptively easy. You would think that filtering by geography, title, seniority, and some keywords will produce you a contact list. It will, but don’t expect that more than 1 in 10 profiles will be a hit (sometimes you will browse a hundred profiles to find one which is worthy to be included in the campaign). It’s not that LinkedIn’s filters don’t work (although sometimes you wonder why a certain profile was included in the search results); it’s just that experience and skills — the two main criteria — are not sufficiently defined by the number of years and keywords alone. You want to evaluate the caliber of previous employers, the scope of responsibilities behind the titles, the depth of skills acquired based on projects and achievements undertaken, and the general progression of the career. A seasoned human eye can make these subtle calculations, but a filtering algorithm cannot (at least not yet). For a more in-depth discussion on finding employees using LinkedIn and email automation, read the blog.

Finding investors using LinkedIn and email automation

Sourcing investors is easier than sourcing employees. Say, if your startup is in digital health, it is not very hard to obtain a list of angels who previously invested in this space - you can start on Crunchbase and/or AngelList, apply a few filters, and voila. But going after them with a direct approach will yield a lower response rate than going after employees. To get on a call with an investor it may take reaching out to a 100. And you might need 10 calls to land 1 who is willing to open the purse. Even if you use automation tools to reach out to so many, you will need much more time to manage all responses. The first question from an investor replying to a campaign message is usually “send me a pitch deck” (therefore, have one ready). You may also be asked about traction, burn rates, product stage and other questions before the call is arranged. However, when you finally get to speak to an investor, he/she already knows about you and his/her willingness to talk more means that you have a genuine opportunity to close. For a more in-depth discussion on finding investors using LinkedIn and email automation and various strategies worth trying, read the blog.

Finding new clients using LinkedIn and email automation

Not all products and services are worth pitching using LinkedIn and email automation. There are three constraints to consider before engaging this method: reach, price and bandwidth.

You can reach about 2000 contacts per month using one LinkedIn and email account, because LinkedIn limits about 100 messages per day and excessive email use may flag your messages as spam. Therefore, if your product is B2C, you might want a wider reach and opt-in, which can be provided by advertising.

Lead generation via direct LinkedIn and email approach is not cheap. It’s not easy to put a concrete number as it varies case by case, but it’s definitely in the tens of dollars and perhaps up to a few hundred per lead. If your product is low value (e.g. low monthly fee) and customer lifetime value is below $1000, this method might be too expensive.

Last but not least is bandwidth constraint. Some products can be pitched in two-three sentences; others are not that easily explained without interaction. The rule-of-thumb is that LinkedIn and email automation is a viable channel when you are able to zoom in on a very specific pain that your target currently experiences and you have a solution which is somehow unique. To make sure that your message is going across the bandwidth constraint A/B testing of messages is strongly advised. We’ve seen many campaigns that start with almost no leads for a month and then gradually produce results as messages get refined and target segments become more granular. 

Using LinkedIn and email automation for finding employees, clients and investors is probably the quickest and cheapest way to hire, sell and raise. LinkedIn yields better response rates than email, but using both seamlessly is even better. Automation is clearly required for outreach campaigns with hundreds or thousands of recipients, however, it's not holy grail as significant manual work is required for pre-campaign tasks (sourcing) and post-campaign tasks (response management). There are different key success factors for hiring, selling and raising using LinkedIn and email automation, but to name one for each: for finding employees - sourcing; for finding investors - response management; for finding new clients - A/B testing of messages.


The article is written by Indre Kaikare, Founder & CEO of jobRely.