Does LinkedIn work for hiring mobile developers? Which job boards are best for Canadian startups? We have all heard the tired cliché that you need to spend money to make money. Frankly, with so many free channels to promote a job, why should a startup spend money to pay for the service?

Let’s consider a critical startup recruitment trend: the search for candidates with startup experience. This need should be obvious, but the general job boards with millions of users do not guarantee a pool of applicants with startup experience. On the flip side, general startup boards do offer massive outreach to millions of job seekers, literally.

One approach to help in recruitment is to envision your ideal candidate and where you would find them virtually. AngelList and StartupNorth could work well for developers, while LinkedIn is great to fill sales and marketing needs.

Job boards for startups (and free, unless otherwise noted)

The list below provides comprehensive coverage in terms of posting startup roles. Numerous entrepreneurs within the MaRS ecosystem have had a positive experience with one or more of the following:

General job boards

The two job boards highlighted here are not exclusive for startups, but still offer a lot value to startups to maximize outreach.


Full disclosure: The Pilot Venture Talent Program at MaRS uses LinkedIn for startup recruitment.

It’s hard to ignore that LinkedIn is the single largest professional network with over 300 million users globally. However, startups face two major challenges with LinkedIn:

  1. While the platform offers countless and awesome networking opportunities, it may not be of value to busy entrepreneurs with no time to use it.
  2. The sheer amount of unqualified candidates who apply to every job posting can pose an operational challenge to early-stage startups with no recruitment support.

What to do? Proceed with LinkedIn if you are prepared to take on the two challenges above. Allocating time to search for passive candidates is much more effective than simply posting jobs. And announce job opportunities through your profile updates for free!


Started in 2004, Indeed is today the largest aggregated job board in the world with 140 million users worldwide. The downside is that, as with LinkedIn, the candidates are not necessary experienced with startups. And you will have to deal with a high volume of unqualified candidates.

To learn more about Indeed, check out its recent infographic.

Tips for recruiting for your startup

  1. Review all your options and put a recruitment plan in place to prepare for growth and rapid expansion. It’s a great problem to have, no?
  1. Regardless the specific job boards you decide to use, remember that a job posting is only a single piece of a complex sourcing strategy that also includes networking, referrals from existing employees, social media recruitment, outreach to passive candidates and working with recruiters.
  1. If your startup is growing, consider using an applicant tracking system (ATS) to centralize your job postings and social networking. An ATS integrates with multiple job boards and allows a systematic tracking of candidates and open jobs, resulting in a more efficient recruitment process.

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Mariana Andrews

Mariana is the Talent Consultant who manages the recruitment component of the MaRS Venture Talent Program. Mariana is a seasoned recruiter and has worked with key startups. See more…