26 Jan Build Your Dream Team: 6 Hiring Strategies for Time-Strapped Founders and New Hiring Managers
So you’ve finally reached the point in your startup life where you need to hire another person or a team to help scale your business. Before you start interviewing, consider these 6 strategies that can help ease you into the process and ensure that you hire the right person. Because if you don’t, it’s going to be an expensive mistake.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. For a small company, a five or six figure investment in the wrong person is a threat to the business.
1. Sit down and make a hiring plan
Nothing fancy. Really. It’s a matter of taking the time to figure out what your business needs. Ask yourself these questions. Do you need someone that can complement you or your existing team? Or do you need someone exactly like you to take on most of your tasks so you can focus on other things (tactical vs strategic)? What do you need to accomplish in the next 6, 12 or 24 months to help the business grow or succeed? Map this out to skills and competencies that will drive these results. You can even prioritize them according to what is critical. Additionally, take the time to reflect on what you and your company values (ie. humility, hustle, positive attitude, growth mindset, etc). These values will set the tone for your culture. It will become thhe important glue that will help you as a leader to unite and inspire people to become a high performing team.
2. Write a stellar job description
Once you know what you need it’s time to do some research on titles and job descriptions. By simply going to websites such as LinkedIn or Indeed, you’ll get a sense for what is out in the job market. It’s important to write an SEO friendly description and title. A good rule of thumb is to only post a job that you would want to apply for yourself. Make sure to keep it short, sweet and sexy like a movie trailer. An interesting and compelling job description will speak directly to your audience and will be written in a tone that is reflective of your culture. Lastly, it should clearly state what you can offer to your future employees like challenging projects, career growth, benefits or perks.
3. Leverage referrals and niche sites like Angel List
Now comes the fun part- promoting your job opening! This is when you can get creative. Why not make a short 60-second video and share it on social media? Camera shy? Then write a clever post about it on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Websites like Angel List is a great free tool to post your job description and directly connect with potential candidates. You can even track your candidates and send direct messages through their platform. Also, don’t forget to connect with your network and ask for referrals! Studies show that referrals are still the best hires since they are not only faster to higher but they also onboard faster and stay longer than a traditional hire.
The first 2 weeks of a new hire’s life sets the tone for everything- engagement, contentment, etc. So make their first few days memorable! Set up meetings or lunches to introduce them to the team and key stakeholders.
4. Create an awesome interview and candidate experience
Treating every candidate like gold will go a long way to positively build your brand as an employer. Thus, candidate experience is a critical part of the hiring process. This means showing up on time for interviews and responding to emails or calls in a timely manner. It also includes following up with candidates that don’t make it through the final round. It’s also a good relationship building strategy as they will be more than willing to refer people to your company in the future and not write you a bad review on Glassdoor. Additionally, to make sure that interviews go smoothly prepare strong questions that will map out to skills and competencies on your hiring plan. If you have a team of interviewers don’t forget to set up a pre-interview meeting to get everyone aligned on the role and assign areas of focus in order to avoid the same questions being asked. The last thing you want to look like in front of the candidate is a hot mess! Remember it’s an employee market so candidates are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them.
5. Check references before putting together an offer they can’t refuse
The last thing you want to do after finding your unicorn is to NOT check references. Do your due diligence and call a minimum of 3 references- 2 managers and 1 peer- is the best way to get a baseline. Probe on areas for growth as well as how your unicorn responds to failures, difficult or high-pressure situations. This will give you an idea of how they will respond to similar future situations. No one is perfect but be aware of areas where you can coach or mentor. As for offers, knowing what motivates your candidate will help you put together an offer they will say yes to. It is not always about money but it is also critical to know what their compensation expectations so make sure that you get this information even before an onsite interview happens. Once you have all the data and approvals you need. Prepare talking points on what the offer looks like as a whole and why they should accept this. Summarize your unique value proposition. Be as transparent and patient as you can be- this a huge life decision so your unicorn will have a lot of questions. Even expect negotiations so be clear on what you can give and not give because you do not want to unintentionally over promise to a future employee.
6. Onboarding! Onboarding! Onboarding!
You may think that the process stops after an offer is accepted. The first two weeks of a new hire’s life sets the tone for everything engagement, contentment, etc. So make their first few days memorable! Set up meetings or lunches to introduce them to the team and key stakeholders. Make sure they have the proper equipment and systems access in place. Better yet create an onboarding plan that will detail what your new hire needs to learn and accomplish their first 30, 60, 90 days. Be the Obi-Wan Kenobi to your Luke Skywalker!
These are only a few of the strategies you can use to ensure a painless hiring process. It won’t be without hiccups since you will be dealing with people but building and be growing a team is one of the most rewarding perks of being a leader so make it matter. Commit to it- your people are your best asset.