Do not hire for today, hire for the future. Fast growth organizations that are adding talent in record time, need to think about the future needs of that role and/or organization, and whether or not a candidate has the potential, motivation, and drive to do more. Roles and responsibilities in high growth company’s change more rapidly than we can actually hire for, and the best hires in growing organizations are those that can wear new hats or take on more responsibility as the organization scales.
Ask yourself, “Is this person curious and motivated to take on new opportunities? Have they demonstrated initiative in the past? Are they hungry for growth? Do they have a learning mindset? Do they want to make an impact to the business?” If so, they are likely a good fit for the successful startup needing to scale.
Do not hire against your “gut”. Have you ever been told to trust your intuition? Now is the time! If something doesn’t feel right, it will usually surface later in the hiring process or after the employee has been hired, when it is too late. Telling yourself in the future, “I had concerns about this very issue”, is not ideal and can be costly to the team, organization, and to productivity! With that said, if there is a concern that can be addressed, and you are comfortable with the issue following more due diligence (further questioning, reference checks, etc.), then trust your gut and go with it.
Do not wait for the perfect candidate. There is no perfect candidate. My early days in recruiting and sales taught me that “time kills every deal” and this holds true for the momentum in the search and interview process, especially in this very competitive market when candidates have many choices. There are awesome reasons to hire someone, and then there is the potential and motivation one has to learn and take on more that should be considered. If this motivation can fill the gap in skills or experience, and they are a team fit, then why not consider the candidate to be a viable choice? Ask yourself, “What’s it costing you not to make a hire?”
Ideally, you want to make great hires as soon as possible, and if you are not timely with the process, you need to ask yourself, “What does it communicate to a candidate or the marketplace when a position is open for months at a time?” Sometimes it represents how you make internal decisions and if it takes too long to get things done or decisions made, that can be viewed negatively by the candidate. Sometimes it's the fact you are growing so quickly that the role is changing and the business isn’t clear on what is needed for someone to be successful. What does that say about the company? It is important to think about how you are positioning and selling the role to future hires at all times throughout the process.
Do not put people on the interview team that are not prepared. Prepare your interview team! Have a kick off meeting prior to bringing in your first candidate. Identify who should be on the interview team, what their purpose on the team is, what skills they should drill down on, and communicate clearly what is expected of them from the evaluation and screening process. If they are not skilled enough interviewers or accountable to providing the right assessment and feedback, then help them get there or remove them from the interview team. They may be an extra step in a process that isn’t adding value.
Do not forget candidates have a choice in the matter. The candidate experience is critical to a successful hiring process. You can’t just rely on your recruiters or hiring managers to sell the company, the entire team needs to walk the talk. Don’t make candidates wait long in between interviews or bring them back more than 2-3 times for multiple interviews. This goes back to ensuring a positive candidate experience. Can you imagine looking for a job while employed and having to take time off multiple times for multiple interviews with multiple companies and finding the time to do your own job too? That is a reality of today’s market and if you want to close good candidates, be respectful of their time and the process in which you engage them. The interview is a two way communication and evaluation process, both you and the candidate have a choice in the decision making process.