Bringing in multiple people makes a considerable change from consultancy, where you might have been managing a structured group of high performers. Where do you start?
Decide what you need
Roles in start-ups especially can be incredibly flexible, and often I get asked by hiring managers where I think they should hire. In reality, they already know, because they’ve just told me. What you need is a clear idea of what needs to be done and what skills or experiences are needed for success. The clearer you are able to be on this from the start the easier (and quicker) your hiring process will be. If you’re stuck at two profiles and think either could work; keep an open mind and double the size of the pool you’re looking for. Ultimately, start-up hires depend quite a lot on cultural fit.
Sell everything about where you work
Tell people. Tell them about your background and help them understand who they will be working with. Put it in the job description! Equally, good marketing is being able to say the thing the other side can’t. The more you can flesh out what your team, mission and progression look like the more top candidates will engage.
Play it smart
- Low hanging fruit
There is a reasonable chance that someone in your network knows the right person for your opportunity, so reach out to them. Make sure no one in your team (or former team) can do the job and see if anyone in your network can make a recommendation. I would give this about a week to see if there is any low hanging & cost effective fruit you can tuck into.
Sadly, sometimes the answer isn’t sitting right there in front of you. Now comes the time to get some help. I think of this as the most dangerous time for a recruitment process, there is a thin line between turning on the tap and smashing the faucet and drowning the hiring team. By turning on taps one by one you create a more manageable flow and you give yourself time to evaluate the strength of each source.
Reach out for external help
How do you decide how to stagger external help? The key to a successful search is engaging several of the ‘right’ applicants; things can easily go wrong when you only have one person you like in your pipeline. Movemeon is built around
Cheaper tech-enabled options, like Movemeon, can actually be quicker than traditional search so there is an additional twin benefit to exploring this option first (Movemeon looks to provide a first shortlist in two weeks whereas some search companies can take over two months). If you don’t have initial success with a tap and you’ve given it two or three weeks there’s no harm on turning on the next source, but managing flow is a must.
Get as much data as you can. Also, use the resources in front of you: what does the hiring manager think. The “needs” are often not “more money”, but instead more soft factors like “room for personal impact” etc.
Reach the right audience
It’s critical your channel is reaching the right people. Trial different channels and test the effectiveness of each: record hiring metrics like role description views, number of screening calls. This also gives hiring managers the confidence that they are seeing the best people
Focus on the profile, not the experience
Effective assessment requires a clear understanding of the intrinsics you want to attract, and a way to assess these. The first step is understanding the intrinsic skills you’re looking for: this is very different to experience.
Take a long-term view
Assess for what you want this person to become, not what they need to be at the start. Interviews are notoriously bad at selection (some studies site below 50% effectiveness). It’s critical the right people are interviewing (i.e., founders might not be the best) and people are trained in interviewing
If you’re interested in this article, take a look at some of our other content relating to this topic:
- What happens to your salary when you leave consulting for a startup?
- 6 ways to attract the best talent to your organisation
- How the best startups hire and what we can all learn from them
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