How can early-stage startups compete for talent? – TechCrunch


Here’s another edition from “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that empowers people around the world to rise above the limits and pursue their dreams,” said Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

TechCrunch+ members get access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; Use promo code ALCORN to buy a one or two year subscription with 50% off.

Dear Sophie,

As an early stage startup founder, I find it hard to compete with other startups for compensation.

We’ve had some interest from people who need visas or green cards, but paying government and legal fees would be a challenge for us.

Any advice to reduce the cost of recruiting from abroad?

— Novice Founder

Dear youngster,

Thank you for your question. In a recent podcast episode, I spoke with Jen Holmstrom, an associate partner at GGV Capital who leads talent and support recruiting startups in the GGV portfolio. We talked about the implications of a paradigm shift that’s currently taking place regarding work and the unprecedented talent crisis, and how it’s impacting how to find, attract, hire, retain and develop employees.

Ms. Holmstrom offered her take on recruiting, which may be helpful for you to consider: Look beyond compensation in recruiting. “Companies are more effective at attracting and retaining talent by focusing on creating a work environment where people want to work, where people can grow, develop and do the things they really love, rather than just to focus on compensation.”

She emphasized that startup founders need to be prescriptive and intentional, paying attention to their corporate culture and the journey of each employee. It’s not easy, especially in today’s world of remote work teams. With clarity about vision and values, a startup can help candidates make the changes they want to see in the world through their jobs.

In addition to creating a great corporate culture where employees can do the work they love, here are a few more tips to help you hire from abroad:

A composite image of immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

Save money

While your startup’s runway may not be as long as you’d like, consider talking to an immigration attorney. An experienced immigration attorney can help you devise a global talent recruitment strategy to meet your growth plans and stay within your budget.

While most corporate immigration attorneys charge a fixed fee for their services, those fees can vary significantly, so shop around. For example, government and legal fees for filing an H-1B can range from $5,000 to $30,000, according to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

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