In this market you grow by Recruiting, not Hiring

Recruiting is proactive, hiring is reactive. The goal of recruiting is to get as many qualified people to commit to joining you as possible. The goal of hiring is to select the best people out of a qualified pool of talent. Both are really hard and it takes a ton of time to build a great team, but the market dictates where you need to focus and in this market, you need to always be recruiting.

I met with an entrepreneur yesterday and we talked about the classic chicken or egg challenge of recruiting.  As CEO you are overwhelmed with the demands of a rapidly growing business and recognize the need to hire more people, but also you are overwhelmed with the demands of a rapidly growing business and cannot dedicate enough time to recruiting and hiring. I remember how this feels, but the current highly competitive environment demands an even more thoughtful and time-consuming approach.

Today, candidates are interviewing you as much if not more than you are interviewing them and you need to create a lovely experience for them from initial contact to final hiring decision. Recruiting is different than hiring and requires a fundamental shift in mentality.

  1. You are selling, not buying. In this market your first objective is NOT evaluating the candidates you meet with, but convincing them to say yes if you decide to extend an offer. Take the time to understand your audience, their background and goals and craft a sales pitch. Spend the first 10 minutes of each interview selling the opportunity to work with you.
  2. Everyone must be an evangelist. Engage your entire staff in identifying recruits and leveraging their personal networks to help build the team. A culture that celebrates referrals with high fives from the CEO is set up to win. If you add referral bonuses for all employees, that helps too.
  3. User experience is critical. Invest the time to create a user-friendly process that reflects your brand values and company culture. Make it easy for your recruits to participate and give them transparency into the process from beginning to end.
  4. Move quickly. It is very likely that candidates of any quality will be heavily recruited by multiple companies and your process needs to respect this reality. If you are not actively engaging with recruits within a 24 hours of initial contact, you can assume they will no longer be available. If you are not able to make decisions quickly and move a recruit from first meeting to an offer efficiently, you will struggle to grow your team.

I hope these four are helpful and would love to know other tricks/best practices that people see working out there.

Re-reading it now, I see 1-4 as good advice for investors in this market as well, but that is a topic for another day…