How to Turn Your Startup Story Into Your EVP


The number one hurdle for candidates considering a new job is that they often can’t envision what their day-to-day life would look like at a new company. 


A clear EVP can help them to do just that. 


Considering the times we live in it’s safe to say that candidates will take more time looking out for information about your company, what kind of team they’ll be working with on what types of projects, and it clues them in to what sort of career trajectory, work-life balance, and daily tasks they’ll experience in your employ. 


Sure, things like salary and benefits remain extremely important, but in times like these the ultimate decision will be about more than that. Job security gains importance and it may be more appropriate to project stability than throwing out fun and new opportunities.


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Source: Linkedin Global Recruiting Trends Report 2020



These details can help form the foundation of a strong employer brand that jumps out at your audience, gets them interested, and entices them into your recruitment funnel. Just as much as it will be about tangible elements, the decision will come down to which company provides a narrative that gets candidates excited about working there.


In other words, it’ll all come down to the EVP.


The Importance of a Strong Startup EVP


As a refresher, your employee value proposition (EVP) includes all of the monetary and non-monetary ways that you provide value to employees.

This includes things like vacation time and telecommuting possibilities, but it also includes a mission or a sense of purpose.


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For startups, this is particularly important. Why?


Because you’re often asking your candidates to make some kind of tradeoff in order to be part of your journey. As a newer company, you may not be offering the most competitive salary, or the greatest benefits package, or the nicest office space, but you expect smart, dedicated applicants to take a chance on you.


And, of course, many of them will—for the right reasons.


If a candidate believes that working for you will be just like working at Microsoft but without all of the perks, they’re not likely to place you high on their list of employment destinations. But if they see you as a place where they can be part of something new and interesting, or a place where they can learn new skills and make a real contribution to an exciting new business, they might be inspired to sign up.


The trick is to come up with a short, compelling narrative that prospective candidates will remember and latch onto.  


What’s Your Story?


Okay, that’s all well and good, but how exactly do you create an EVP as a startup that really catches the imaginations of your target candidates.


How to Turn Your Startup Story Into Your EVP


Think of this the way you might think of an elevator pitch: if you had one sentence to sum up the reason a candidate should be excited about your company, what would you say?


Remember to keep the focus on your ideal applicants.

- If you’re searching for young, ambitious coders who can quickly learn enough to oversee major design and implementation projects, make sure you position yourself as a place to learn and grow quickly.

- If you’re branching out into hiring marketing or sales roles, give some account of why these people should be excited to sell and market your product.


If you can put them in a position to make the world a better place or to help solve people’s problems, you might keep them engaged and interested enough to take your offer seriously.


Ultimately, people want a strong sense of purpose.


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Since that’s the type of thing that already defines strong companies, it shouldn’t be too hard to provide your new hires with one. Though your messaging in this area will obviously be distinct from any marketing you may have put out into the world (since the audience is very different), you might check on those materials to see if you already have a concise answer to that all important question: why do you do what you do?


Promoting Your EVP Online


Now that we’ve seen how you can leverage your unique story as a startup to help give applicants a sense of mission and purpose, let’s talk about how to leverage that EVP into actual submitted job applications and accepted offers.


After all, the best messaging in the world isn’t much good if no one reads it.


1. Reach candidates with your mission well before they decide to apply—both so that they’re more likely to submit an application and so that they’ll move more quickly and easily through your application process.


2. Reach your ideal candidates where they are, which means incorporating your EVP strongly into employer branded ads and posts across social media and other web channels.


3. Converting impressions into leads and leads into applicants is all about content, so you should make sure you’re creating content that highlights your EVP.

For instance, if you’re a fintech startup, you might make a series of YouTube ads that highlight your finance bona fides and your innovative spirit in a way that will get young, talented developers excited about your project.  Conversely, if you’re developing a new e-commerce platform, for instance, you might create a series of Instagram Stories that home in on the challenges your customers are facing and the ways that you’re helping to overcome them.


Campaigns like these should be complemented with mentions of things like flexibility, learning and growth opportunities, career advancement, and other factors as appropriate. In this way, you give people a concrete sense of why it’s awesome to work for your company, and why applying is the right decision for them.