Enterprise organisations hire very differently to your start-up. And so they should. After decades of experience, they have a well-defined and articulated understanding of their EVP, who their ideal employee is, and how to assess them for the best possible chance of meeting success. You, despite your best intentions, do not. Yet. Fortunately, you can stand on the shoulders of proverbial giants and use their evaluation techniques to short-cut your learning process if you are smart about it.
When what you do is wholly and solely centered on delivering IT services, software, or physical infrastructure, that’s a very different proposition to selling inanimate widgets. Typically, widgets have a fairly fixed and verifiable ROI, while IT – in whatever format – facilitates the creation of value. When you’re an IT-First start-up where your entire business model is centered on an app, or providing services that leverage IT, the types of people and the way you hire them is fundamentally different than other organsiations. You need people that have vision and imagination, and can creatively position your solutions to whatever problems your clients might have – a transactional approach whether in sales or technical realms is not going to cut it.
If you’re working feverishly on making your vision a reality, you have likely hired a few people – maybe even a few dozen – with mixed results. If you universally praise the performance of every person that’s joined your team, then your measures for capability are skewed, but you’re likely a lovely person and we should have a drink some time and hang out. Now as far as how you measure success, have you established before you hired this person what ‘success’ looks like? Have you objectively and periodically assessed and given feedback to each person you’ve taken on board? When you first looked to hire for that role, was it well articulated and understood exactly what business problem you were trying to solve? Was this relayed to the candidate throughout the process?
Set up a smarter way to hire. Placing an ad, getting an ATS, and googling ‘interview questions’, and throwing in some trick questions isn’t the whole equation. In fact, it’s so pedestrian it can actively discourage top employees from working with your company. And it’s not going to scale well at all. If you have faith in your growth, lay the foundations early. Hiring an internal recruiter is better than nothing, but not by a lot if they are just managing this previous outlined process. Unless they have a history of Talent Acquisition in enterprise (with an IT specialty) you’re not getting what you hope for, and definitely not what you need. They might be able to identify and engage people, and blast out jobs on social media, but that is an infinitesimal part of the puzzle. You need a true coach with expertise as both an authority in your technical space (or similar) and the expertise in the recruitment and talent acquisition processes and tools to take you where you need to be.
If you aren’t able to get expertise around TA, an internal recruiter will have to do, or just keep doing it yourself if hiring volume isn’t too overwhelming. Just make sure that the people you hire always reflect the following;
- Under-qualified – but not too under-qualified. If they’re smart and can bridge the gap they will be forever loyal for the chance.
- Foaming at the mouth evangelists for your product or brand – if they’ve not bought in, they shouldn’t be
- They know the types of tools, not necessarily the specific ones you use.
- They’re happy for you to take a reference from any contact you both may share, not just nominated ones
- They’re positive people, especially if the company isn’t in a growth phase
- They are keen to get stuck into training and provide evidence of taking a more detailed look at your company
- They come armed with ideas (even if off-the-mark a bit) that might be worth considering
If you understand that this first touchpopint with your potential hires is critical to your future success and the attraction of top performers, you’re looking to start off in the right way with a proto Talent Acquisition ecosystem. The basic steps are;
- Estimate your hiring frequency
- Build a library of interview formats and questions for each role archetype that reflect the role function!
- Understand your SOP for hiring and refine, refine, refine
- Install some kind of applicant tracking system – even if just a spreadsheet initially
- Think about your EVP – how would you pitch your company as somewhere you’d want to work?
If you’re stuck or are interested in outsourcing this whole process, or just want to pick our brains a bit about how to go about the above; we’re here to help: