How Office Design can Entice Prospective Hires

As every recruiter knows, finding talent is only half the battle. It's enough of a challenge to sift through resumes and online portfolios, but when you do find a candidate that you'd hire on the spot if you could, chances are they've got a few other offers on the backburner. How can you stand out? Salaries are what they are, and you can't drain all of your company's funding on hiring. What makes your startup a more enticing option than the previous company that offered your candidate the same pay and perks?

Company culture is a big factor, and it can easily be the deciding factor. But culture is abstract; you can't prove to a candidate in a single interview that your culture is solid and that your startup is going to succeed. Fortunately for us, there's an oft-overlooked technique that instantly (and wordlessly) broadcasts your company culture: office design.

People can't help but judge things by their appearance, and you can bet that every recruit you bring into your office is going to make a guess at your work culture based on your interior design. According to a study by Share Your Office, here are a few factors that startup employees and independent workers look for in an office. Add these techniques to your value proposition, and you'll have a new hire in no time.

1) Show that it's easy to communicate in peace and quiet

Whether your office is collaborative or private, communication between team members is key. Despite the growing popularity of open office designs, noise can be a big problem, and employees will spend most of their time communicating with their own teammates anyway.

Yet easy, open access to one another is still crucial. According to Lauren Mosenthal of Glassbreakers, it's "really beneficial to be able to slide over to someone you’re working with and say, 'hey, can you take a look at this?'". Likewise, David Head of Design Live said that his team was "2-3 times more productive" when they were working side-by-side. The key is to encourage focused, informal discussions about work, without eliminating privacy altogether and drowning the room in distracting chatter.

2) Show off your amenities, but explain why they matter

Everyone seems to think that startups prize fun over all else. Common startup office amenities include kegerators, bean bags, and the ubiquitous ping pong tables. From an outsider's perspective, the superficial ethos of fun seems to dominate the office environment, making it harder for employees to focus on actual work.

There's no doubt that office amenities are awesome, but they're awesome specifically because they contribute to your company culture. Flashy office conveniences might entice newbies to the work force, but for recruits who've been around the startup block, the novelty is gone. Instead, pitch the social and mental value of having beer in the office. The practical value can be replicated (just go out and buy a beer yourself), but having the whole team gather and relax for happy hour might be exactly the kind of team-building exercise your recruit wants to see.

3) Make the case for private work space

In the age of communal work spaces, you don't have to convince potential startup hires that there'll be chances to socialize at the office. Communication is the norm. Instead, some applicants might be worried that they won't be given the quiet time they need to do their job and get home at a reasonable hour.

This is especially true for jobs that require constant use of the phone, like sales or business development. Showing that you have comfortable, private phone call space might make all the difference to someone whose career depends on it.

You might take it for granted because you work there, but the office really is the first impression you make on prospective hires, even before you've spoken to them. If you make sure your office is appealing and you pitch its value in a way that makes sense to the applicant, you'll fill your talent gap in a snap.

Guest post by Stefan Bhagwandin. Stefan is a content writer for Share Your Office, a real estate tech startup that offers on-demand listings of offices, meeting rooms, and coworking spaces.