Staffing Your Startup – What is a Priority Search?

Startups face many challenges, perhaps the toughest is talent acquisition. 

Through my commitment to servicing and staffing startup organizations, I’ve discovered an unexpected passion for executing a priority search recruitment model, mostly because it works so well! 

Critical openings in smaller, scaling companies can cause bottlenecks if they are not filled in a timely manner with the right resources. Having such gaps results in a lack of direction and technical leadership when growing organizations need seasoned leaders the most. 

Approaching these challenges has elevated my relationships in the industry and my ability to see the benefits in a priority search model. 

What is a Priority Search?

A priority search is a search done through one recruiting partner that takes on the search from end-to-end. This type of talent acquisition search is handled as a direct partnership to the organization, taking on all aspects from posting and actively reaching out, to managing candidates, rejecting candidates, and closing the position. 

Why Priority Search?

When founders go from their own sweat-equity to a funded organization with revenue goals to hit, staffing the team right and right now is a priority. Priority Search recruiting focuses on time-sensitive roles and hires based on a startups’ short- and long-term needs, not the framework of another organization. 

Benefits of a Priority Search Model

  • Candidate experience. One trusted partner is relaying the proper information and extent of the role along with the startup’s values. This creates consistency in the message being delivered.
  • Saves time internally. Having a dedicated recruiter on the search prioritizes the role and allows for the seamless communication of information to the hiring manager and stakeholders, allowing them to go about their normal work.
  • Expanded network. When a startup works with an agency on a priority search, they tap into a candidate database with countless opportunities to source a qualified pipeline of talent. 

Working closely with startups and a priority search model has not only allowed me to grow as a recruiter, but I have been able to witness how relationships are at the core of the engagement – that’s with my clients and the candidates I help. 

Do you have a Priority Search success story? I’d love to hear it.


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Alex Nadeau, Technical Recruiter at Objective Paradigm, enjoys sharing his thoughts on staffing for the startup community and more. Alex is an alum of Illinois State University and served in the US Army as an Infantryman from 2009-2012. He brings a wealth of knowledge to our team and helps to identify and hire talent across verticals and recruitment models. Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.

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