If you’re reading this, your company may have just made the shift from fledgling to funded. Congrats! After closing funding, it may seem like there are a hundred to-do’s to tackle, but one of the most pivotal to your company’s future success? Staffing, and quickly.
Think about where you are, where you want to be, and how you are going to get there. Break your big dreams down into bite-sized increments, and decide how you are going to move toward your goals in the next 90 days; in the next 6 months; in the next calendar year. To get to where you want to go, you’re going to have to scale each and every department proportionally. As your company grows and expands (exciting!) you’re going to need to find specialists, and people who are true experts in their field that are capable of owning their work and their department.
If all of this has you feeling flustered, don’t worry— We’ve compiled our five top tips for hiring fast, hiring smart, and hiring successfully after closing funding on your startup.
Organize Your Wants and Your Needs
Okay, so maybe organization isn’t your forte— But this step will be incredibly important to your startup hiring process down the line. Nobody knows better than we do: Making positive hiring decisions is critically important to a business’s success. And, although that seems like an obvious statement, there are countless organizations that flail and flop as a direct result of a poorly defined and executed hiring process. Something to acknowledge from the early stages is that your hiring needs will never be the same as they were the quarter before, or even the month before. When you founded your company, you may have gravitated toward candidates who were Jacks and Jills of all trades, candidates willing to pitch in for any department at any juncture. Now you may be entering a period where the hires you make need to be dedicated subject matter experts in one area.
You’ve received your funding, and now it’s time to take an honest and audited look at your current state of affairs; decide EXACTLY what you need in an employee, and WRITE it down. When you get into the real work of finding, interviewing and hiring the right candidates, it’s easy to lose sight of the exact type of person you need. This will streamline your hiring process and help you to avoid any internal discovery periods or disagreements between colleagues on what the “ideal” hire looks like.
Define Your Company Culture
One of the most common challenges a scaling company faces when making new hires is ensuring that new additions are positive cultural correlates. You may be very happy with your company culture as it is today, but as you grow your team it’s increasingly important to provide newcomers with a clear statement of your values, mission, and culture. This element of startup hiring is often overlooked, but will become foundational to your hiring process if done correctly.
There are simple ways of avoiding a less-than-optimal cultural hire. The first step to strengthening your culture before you kick off your hiring sprint is to WRITE IT ALL DOWN. Get input from your entire team about what makes your culture unique, and merge it into a single document. Share this document publicly so candidates can self-select.
Your organization may be small enough that every single team member is able to meet with every potential hire. If your organization is larger, designate certain people in your company to be your “culture interviewers.” Have them briefly meet with every candidate with the express purpose of gauging if they’ll fit in with your culture.
Standardizing and maintaining a healthy company culture is pivotal in optimizing:
Employee retention— If a new hire is not right for you, and you’re not right for them, that is time and money spent on training somebody that didn’t truly want to be trained.
Reputation management— Companies with a healthy, energetic, and inclusive corporate culture stand to gain a positive reputation among present and potential workers, which will help to attract talented and skilled workers to the organization.
Productivity— A better company culture lends to a more favorable work/life balance, and a happy employee leads to a happier company. Improved morale increases productivity, and in turn, employees can benefit from that productivity in terms of higher returns, higher salaries, and more benefits.
Quality of work— Healthy corporate cultures encourages workers to deliver quality products and services. Companies with cultures valuing the highest standards create an atmosphere for workers to deliver products that meet those high standards.
Defining your company culture early on will help you to streamline your startup hiring process, and avoid any awkward terminations down the road.
Create a Process AND Stick To It
Ask yourself one question, and be very honest with your answer: Do you need to outsource your recruiting entirely, or is your internal team primed to handle the rapid pace of startup hiring?
Many firms make the decision to create an internal hiring team or task force. In theory, this is a sound idea— who better to make hiring decisions than those who will be working alongside the new hires day-to-day? But with the rapid influx of work that often follows the closing of funding, the vetting and interviewing processes may be placed on the backburner. As your company is gaining momentum, applicants will start rolling in in response, and it may seem like the easiest course of action is to hire quickly and keep the ball rolling. But with a growing company comes growing pains, and your hasty hire may not be able to rise to the occasion.
If you do work with a recruiting company, be sure that they truly understand your company’s unique culture. It’s important that they are as excited about what you are building as you are. From there, a recruiter can dedicate their undivided attention to finding candidates that will best fit into that mold. And finally, be sure that your outsourced hiring program follows the process that successful recruiters have used for ages: Source, screen, interview.
Lean on Third Party Tools
In the circumstance of startup hiring, technology is your best friend. Depending on the size of your organization and the internal recruiting team, you may have many or very few tools in place to support your hiring program. This is an excellent time to take a hard look at the tools you have in place for your hiring program— you can now take the time to research and discover the tools that are right for you:
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)— Think of this as your CRM for candidates. Just as the name suggests, this tool will literally track your candidates at every stage of the hiring process. An ATS system can often be customized to suit the needs of the company.
Easy call scheduling— Apps like Calendly help you to schedule calls and conferences without a messy user interface or expensive subscription.
LinkedIn Recruiter— Despite this being a costly resource, this tool can be useful for companies with an internal recruiting team.
AI-Powered Talent Marketplace—Because tools like RampUp use powerful AI’s, they can move faster and more accurately than people to match candidates with companies and jobs. Make sure the tool you choose matches you with the top passive talent.
When in Doubt… You can ALWAYS Count on Your Teammates
We’ve all heard the old adage “it takes one to know one”. There is nobody better suited to advise you on the BEST addition to the team, than somebody who is already on the team! Pitch potential candidates to your crew, listen to what they have to say, and trust their instincts! You’re the one who hired them, afterall— you already know that they are capable of making a sound choice.