Are you truly doing everything you can to get good people on board?
All entrepreneurs know there’s a point where they can't do everything themselves. Maybe you're way past this already, or maybe you're just on the cusp of hitting it. Companies either have too many leads/customers, or funding that must be directed at in-advance capability building. Both of these require manpower.
As founder of Bolton Remote, I speak frequently with entrepreneurs and C-level leaders about their business challenges. Unsurprisingly, acquiring talent is top of mind for many of them, whether it’s their first hire or employee #50.
While some hiring challenges are obvious ("I need good people at the right price, right now!"), the solutions aren't. What should growing companies do to face their hiring challenges? Here are 3 simple things you can do today to broaden your hiring pool and ensure you are ready to power your growth with the right people.
Think of Hiring the Same Way You Do Marketing
Lots of growing companies, especially tech startups, focus on creating the right marketing mix. They’re often good at lead generation and driving customers through their pipeline. They track ad spend, lead channels, conversion rates, and other metrics. They also build incredible nurturing campaigns to increase engagement and make more sales.
These companies, however, rarely employ the same rigor and methods to hiring.
Why would you think multi-channel for marketing but employ a one-size-fits-all solution to getting people?
The way to start is to think about your current hiring channels and track their performance. It’s likely you're using job boards, in-house recruitment teams, and staffing companies only when needed. What if you kept a steady stream of "leads" of good people even if you didn't have a specific position open right now?
To maintain a healthy and continuous pipeline of talent, below are some relatively easy-to-launch channels you can start tracking, measuring and optimizing today.
Constantly Interview to Keep Your People Radar Up-to-Date
Never. Stop. Hiring. This is one I believe in strongly. Even without any positions open, I am constantly interviewing and searching for good people. This method keeps a solid "pipeline" of talent available to you and keeps you sharp. An interview is not a one-way interrogation, it is a 2-way conversation. I have learned many things from conducting interviews.
“Many entrepreneurs don’t begin the search for great talent until they’re actually hiring for a specific job. While some may be lucky enough to quickly identify and hire the perfect teammate, others may spend months with an unfilled key role. To avoid any hiring lags, startups should always be on the hunt for new talent – preferably also with an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Some loose rules on continuous interviewing:
- Be proactive: Interview for a role you may hire for in the next 3 to 6 months.
- Set expectations: tell candidates you’re exploring for a role that you're not immediately hiring for. Many candidates are willing to expand their network and interview for dream jobs even if they know they’re not starting next week.
- Be rigorous: set up a schedule and a target number of interviews. Make it a normal part of your week.
- Be intentional: go into an interview with specific questions you want answered. Ask things you don't already know. If you come out of these interviews learning something, you spent your time well. You will also be much better positioned to follow Malcolm Forbes' advice to "never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s (or she’s) hired to do."
Don’t Limit Yourself to Job Descriptions and Requirements
You can open your company to more hires by thinking differently about who makes a great hire. Some jobs do require specific skills, but many do not. In fact, there have recently been numerous examples of software companies and tech startups hiring people with unconventional backgrounds, like liberal arts.
Job descriptions and lists of "must-have" qualifications are useful, but they often limit high potential hires from getting in the door. For example, a candidate may be a great fit for another position, but they were rejected for the specific one they applied to due to a technicality. Or, potential hires are turned off from applying because they don't feel engaged with how you described the job.
Last year, Zappos realized this, and launched their innovative Insider program to keep tabs on potential hires not tied to any specific job requisition. It has worked - by pro-actively engaging with talent on a regular basis, they have tripled the size of their talent pool and increased the quality of applicants.
Hiring is tough. It sometimes seems like the time you need to hire for a critical role the most, is the very time you can't find anyone who fits. By thinking pro-actively about hiring, even when you're not, you can not only be ready for when you really need someone, but, you also open yourself up to new possibilities and ideas on a regular basis. You never know who’ll come through the door - it may just be someone you didn't even know you needed.
Originally published on StartupGrind.com, the global startup community.