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 3 Tips for Startup Recruiting at an AI Company in 2023

Learn the philosophy for startup recruiting success from the Head of Global Talent Acquisition at Silicon Valley AI startup Vectara.

As a lifelong recruiter, I was excited to be contacted by a former co-worker and serial startup founder of an AI company looking to staff up. With only 11 current employees and a goal of 25+ in the next year, the challenge was steep. 

Although I have a strong familiarity with the startup world based on my professional background, it had been quite some time since I worked at a company of Vectara’s size. Like anything in life, when you’ve been out of the game for a while, you have to take a crash course and familiarize yourself with what you once knew and what has now changed. Recruiting for a startup is a challenge at any point in time, but recruiting at a startup in 2023 looks a little different. 

Coming out of a pandemic, which accelerated a remote work culture, both companies and employees were forced to adapt. As most of us can relate to, being a professional in tech has changed quite a bit post-pandemic, and as a recruiting professional, we have to keep up with these changes. Additionally, with the advent of AI and limited experience in this new space pervasive in the talent pool, new complexities need to be considered. Here are 3 things to keep in mind while recruiting at a startup in 2023. 

1. Have a proactive versus reactive approach 

Tech talent, especially in AI, is hot, and so is the market! With that said, the approach in recruiting has shifted quite a bit, and regardless of company size, the approach must be a proactive one. Companies are scooping up top talent left and right, and in order to attract the talent you need, you must proactively seek out this talent. 

At a new startup it is crucial to tap into your personal network and the network of your employees. As you build your brand, finding creative ways to hire top talent is important. Another proactive approach is to be very strategic in your outreach to candidates – think about what makes your company stand out and why. Once you have identified this, build it into your outreach communication and share it with the appropriate pipeline of candidates you are trying to attract.

2. Build a diverse team 

From day one, the founders knew that they wanted to build a diverse team as they experienced the benefits of this living in Silicon Valley and having worked at diverse companies like Google and Yahoo!. Fortunately, as with the challenges of recruiting for a startup comes many benefits, such as building a diverse team from the ground up rather than trying to diversify an already existing team. At Vectara, we are all about diversity and inclusion, and I am proud to say that it is a topic that has been top of mind since day one. I can personally attest to this being a woman of color and one of the leaders at Vectara as the Head of Global Talent Acquisition. The benefits of focusing on DEI are that we have many different opinions, experiences, and perspectives, which makes working together all the more thought-provoking and enjoyable. Events and team meals also benefit as we get to try new foods, learn about holidays in other countries, and reinforce a people-first culture.

3. Support remote/hybrid work and virtual interviewing 

The world has changed quite a bit post-pandemic, and it is important that startups keep up with this new way of work. Most companies support remote/hybrid work models and are conducting interviews remotely as well. Since this shift, a lot of roles have become available in various remote locations rather than an emphasis of working onsite at a company’s headquarters. 

This has opened up the talent pool quite a bit, and employers have found that people are just as productive working from home as they were coming into an office. This has shifted the world of recruiting, where most interviews are conducted virtually. 

With that said, Vectara allows employees to work in a fully remote or hybrid role. You also have the option of coming into the office or any combination that supports your work/life balance. Vectara is very passionate about people working from wherever they are most comfortable, happy, and productive. The benefit of this is that Vectara has been able to hire top talent regardless of geographic location. 


While the startup staffing world has changed post-pandemic, focusing on the universal truths that proactivity delivers better outcomes, building a team focused on DEI, and supporting employees in how they do their best work will ensure that you give your employees and your startup the best chance to survive in a constantly changing world.

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