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Start Up Hiring – Scale Or Fail

The basics are handled, your to do lists are checked off and you are poised to start growing.

  1. Market Need—check

  2. Business Plan—check

  3. Product Ideation and Development—check

  4. New Accounts Generating Revenue—check

  5. Funding—check

  6. Hiring—uncheck

Most start-ups are created out of a founder’s passion and vision for how the world could be with their product or service in use everywhere. An inspired founder typically attracts friends, colleagues and family members to their team;

however once the referral well runs dry the highly qualified and compatible people are much harder to find, close and keep.

Make no bones about it, hiring is risky business.

It is important to consider that a bad hire can cost your company a minimum of $50,000, in some cases the wrong person in the wrong job can cost you your start up.

So how does a Start Up build a robust Talent Acquisition Engine and Quality Hiring process?

  1. Establishing Culture – It starts with the CEO & Leadership team codifying and articulating the purpose, direction and core values of the company. Creating a unified mission driven culture happens when each and every employee embodies the core values and operates congruently with those values.

  2. Operating Plan – next the team needs to map out the avenues and milestones needed to scale the company and accomplish success. Once the plan is established it is time to identify who will do what, and by when it needs to be done.

  3. Staffing Plan –effectively staffing your company begins with conducting an inventory of who is currently on the team. It is important to know who has what skills, abilities, competencies and strengths. It is equally important to be aware of which skills and competencies are missing and required for the plan to be executed and milestones to be achieved.

  4. Defining Performance Based Job Descriptions – the lifeline to performance management hinges on defining the role up front (before you hire) as well as what you expect the role to achieve in terms of hard metrics. Establish Key Performance Indicators for every role in the company.

  5. Creating Selection Criteria for Hiring – Move away from what the resume needs to say. Once you define your KPIs then dig a little deeper and identify what core traits, competencies, attitudes, motivators and behaviors are required to perform the role at optimal performance.

  6. Once you define the required skills and abilities, then it is time to think about what the right candidate will have done in the past and for which type of companies.

  7. Filling the Candidate Pipeline – Brand Your Company and Brand the Role. Unless your Start Up is named Facebook, Google or Apple, you will need to position your opportunity as the “place” to learn, grow and move a career forward. Great candidates want great opportunities and everyone is knocking on their door, what will make them answer your knock?

  8. Sourcing – Open the Top of the Funnel. We are facing unprecedented talent shortages; smart hiring managers will look outside of their gut instinct paradigm for where the ideal candidate is right now. If someone that has worked in a completely different industry yet they have the right behaviors, traits, values and competencies and they can do this job and do it well, then why not consider them?

  9. Screening and Evaluating – Filter the right candidates in. Earlier you established what right looked like, now you need to take that criteria and follow a vetted screening and sorting process that takes the wide funnel of candidates your cool brand attracted and sorts through them to identify the best and eliminate the rest. You can use an on line video interviewing tool, an high quality assessment, a prescreen questionnaire or a multitude of other evaluation tools to sort the players from the posers.

  10. Leading The Job Interview – Since you created your hiring criteria before you began sourcing candidates you are aware of what is important to you and what you need to interview for. Preparing an interview model (with answers) before the candidate enters your office sets you up to win and be objective in the interviewing process

  11. Conducting References and Background validation – even if you are in love, check this person out. People are on their best behavior on an interview; contact old bosses, co-workers, conduct a background check, check out their digital identity – find out who they really are before making a job offer.

  12. On Boarding – Lastly once you make a hire, you most likely have spent 25-30 hours on this project, valuable hours that you will never get back. Now it is time to nurture and feed your investment. Find out what is important to your new hire. Ask how they like to be managed. Inquire in to to their career path & learning requirements. If they are a great hire, then your competition will agree with you. It is important that you make this new member of your company family feel welcome, appreciated and fully utilized as soon as possible.

Great Hiring -Great Start Up


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