Part 2 focuses on talent acquisition. A key challenge for any start-up and company nowadays.
A. LinkedIn RecruiterLite
This is how you start getting an idea on how hard recruiting is. As a founder planning a scalable business, you are aware of the road ahead. You need to fill intern, junior and senior expert positions, project managers/drivers and mid-level managers, developers from all strands of life and you need all types of skillsets to run and operate your external service providers sufficiently.
From sales to marketing to product management to product development to finance and operations to compliance and legal, administraton and so forth.
Tough? Yes. Tough. But how do you start if you never have worked in any of those areas?
By “linkedIn-ling” with Recruiter Lite. Yes.
Here are your winning mantras:
- Career Profiles are studied top-down from CxO level down to the expert level
- You start from AAA talent and get down to the low end
Starting at the top
How does that work in practice?
- Your search radar looks for 5-20 years industry experience and “CxO” title in name
- You have a hot list of top comparables for these positions. CFOs in large corporations and successful startups, CMOs, CPOs, etc. And you enter those names into your search. Facebook, GOogle, AMazon, Procter &Gamble, and so forth.
- You now weed through these profiles and hope many wrote down their total experience in the summary. This you copy and paste to Dropbox Docs and you collect skillsets.
- Also, you write down any job title you are not familiar with to understand the profile development / careers these people went through.
By doing all this, you:
- Learn about profiles
- Total skill and responsibility areas covered
- potential KPIs/ performance metrics people say they have met
- Which employers have produced the most impactful careers
- Which uniersities and backgrounds from a Value for Money and attainability point of view you could possibly target.
Down To the bottom
With a good overview of the domain of a CxO and with a lot of background reading and educational material review, whitepapers, blogposts on medium and slideshares, you start to understand the entire “Marketing” domain, for example. Or the “Job domain”. From the C level down to many expert levels at the bottom. You now confirm your knowledge by googling and researching official lists on job profiles in the domain.
Once all this is in place, you start building a hiring strategy. Typically starting with interns, possibly senior or hungry junior positions that you want to possibly build up to the C level and where you beleive they will learn on the job and by project managing agencies and networking out there. GOod. Finally you get an idea on salaries and compensation models from 20/80 + Commission splits for sales people to Base + Small + ESOPs for developers, And Base and large bonus and ESOPs for managers, etc. ANd you research industry tables on prices for the people.
Cold e-Mailing, Calling, Network outreach
Now with your staffing plan, your salary expectation and role profiles you created for your first hires, you have successfully used your staffing plan for the next 3 years to build a scalable organizational development plan. And you start hunting people.
B. Networks, Hunters
Before you think about hiring a full time HR person, the next step is to have your investors, network and head hunters chase people for you and you build a solid base to build a candidate pipeline, you learn how to position roles on your website and career websites, and start building a first brand and culture around you as an employer.
Only when scaling kicks in at much higher level and you need a dedicated resource to manage brand and culture from the HR point of view, you are considering an HR hire.
The key challenges:
What you will immediately recognize is several things:
- People don’t want to work for you. This is really tough as nails sales. And your sales ability and culture and everything must work hand in hand to attract anyone.
- The talent pool for particular roles might just not exist in the city or region you are in. Hiring people from far away and making them relocate is especially tough. And costly. And you need to be Triple A yourself in weeding out the nonperformers before you pay for their relocation and have a lock in.
- Talent acqusition compromises are definitely a reality. You will hire mediocre people. And you cannot simply fire them. Because hiring new people is challenging again. And nothing destroys your brand more than choosing wrong people and letting them go again. Anyone giving up his previous job for the new one will think twice before even considering making the move.
So can you build and form and inspire the hires you have to become triple As? And can you identify the ones that will play along? Culture becomes more relevant than specific skills.
And after all:
- You won’t find Silicon Valley Talent in Yorkshire
- You won’t get Silicon Valley Talent if you hired people from Yorkshire
Choose your start-up location wisely. Know the critical components in your HR strategy and go where it is affordable to get the required talent you need to compete on a global scale against the US, Israel and Asian ecosystems.
Tough? Yes. Life is tough.