Startups: When Acquiring Top Talent, Speed is Everything

Startups: When Acquiring Top Talent, Speed is Everything

Acquiring Top Talent

Acquiring Top Talent

It’s no secret that your tech startup has many critical hires to make. Without the right talent in place, your work remains unfinished, and your company is not moving forward. But because the job market in tech is so hot, demand for top performers is high and rising, especially from young companies. And with market conditions the way they are, the time it takes for companies acquiring top talent continues to increase. Because of these conditions, startups must be prepared to move to secure the talent they need. Yet too often, startups fail to act quickly enough to hire effectively. Finding the right people for your needs is critical, but if you are lacking an efficient interview and hiring process, you may be hindering your own efforts and preventing your company’s growth. But fear not; there are many factors you can address to help shorten your hiring time.

Why Startups Take Too Long To Hire

Why might a tech startup employ a lengthy hiring process? Many companies begin hiring without a clear enough sense of their own needs, or conversely try to be too thorough when vetting potential hires. Another common reason results from expectations that are set too high, and the desire to hold out for better options. Because the hire is so critical, the vision of the perfect candidate creates an unrealistic comparison to real candidates. Hiring inefficiency also arises from issues of uncertainty and the second guessing of opinions and judgments on the part of the company. And for some startups, it simply comes from issues with budgetary constraints or the timing of the hire.

The Results of A Lengthy Hiring Process

All of the above are real issues that startups face, and should not be discounted as excuses in any way. Regardless, lengthy hiring tends to yield the same results, despite the reasoning. For starters, your company is most likely not your candidates’ only prospect. Failure to move quickly with candidates that meet your needs can result in a loss to competing companies. This holds especially true for candidates who are more active in their job search, but is not necessarily excluded from passive professionals. Elongated hiring time can also convey a perceived lack of interest, or may signal poor functionality or management within the organization. In either situation, the time, money and energy put towards hiring is wasted unnecessarily. Additional resources must be allocated to compensate, which means they must be taken away from other areas of your startup that require focus. And Ultimately, a failure to make your critical hires due to lengthy hiring means the work is left undone, and your startup’s progress is further hindered.

How to Help Decrease Your Hiring Time

There are several things that hiring startups can do to shorten their interview process with confidence. To start, realize that perfection does not exist. Searching for something unrealistic is a huge time suck, and will rarely, if ever, yield results. Second, establish what you actually need, and distinguish between your needs and wants for the hire. And focus on evaluating candidates based on what your needs are, rather than comparing to what may come along in the future. There is always the potential for a better fit to come along, but don’t let the potential for better in the future sway your judgement in evaluating potential hires today. And finally, trust your gut. Be assertive, and remember that you know what you need. Make judgments with confidence, and trust the opinions of other interviewers.

Startups: Don’t Take So Long!

Hiring is stressful, especially for a small company. It takes a great deal of energy, time and money. It takes those resources away from other areas that need focus. And its impact will be felt throughout the organization in more ways than one. It is also work that can make the greatest impact on your organization’s success. This is all the more reason to do it efficiently and effectively from the start. None of the above implies that you must make sacrifices on your core needs, nor should you discount the importance of cultural fit or experience. What it does imply is that when making critical hires, startups must be realistic, plan ahead, and act when needed. And for a startup, every hire is critical.

Kathy Gwozdz has been in the recruiting industry for over 15 years. She has a diverse background in Contingency, Corporate and Contract recruiting, working directly with candidates and clients at a high level. Her determination and zeal in finding the ideal person for the right opportunity makes her continuously successful in placing top talent.

Use Your Online Brand To Get A Job

You have been reading a ton of articles lately, including ones from us, that traditional resumes are dead or dying. If this is true, how do companies know what you can and can’t do? Resumes are still an important part to get a job, but they are by no means the “be all, end all” to making a great impression. By creating a prominent online brand, companies will find you.

There are several things to keep in mind when creating your brand; each of them equally important.

Focus Around Your Goal
What kind of job are you looking for? The answer to this question will be the foundation of your personal brand. Once you you figure this out, target companies and influential people in the industry.

  • Make a connection with specific companies you wish to work for.
  • Like their page on Facebook
  • Follow them on Twitter
  • Add them on LinkedIn

Engage with these companies, and find out what roles they have open

Know The Industry
Use tools such as Google Alerts and Social Mention to keep up with the latest news about your industry. Read blogs written by industry experts. Commenting on those blogs is a good way to attract your own followers and get them to visit your blog.

Own Your Name
Buy your name as a URL using a registrar like GoDaddy. Not only will this keep someone else from having your name’s website, but it will make it easier for companies to find you. From there you will be able to host your personal blog, post your resume and portfolio and link to your social networks.

Try creating a short video resume. People are more likely to watch a video than read an entire resume. Keep it to around five minutes, and hit the highlights of your career and experience.

Get Social
We talk a lot about getting social, which is increasingly necessary in today’s job market.

Set up accounts using your name (if your exact name is not available, add an initial or a number) on:

Facebook

Most people like to keep their Facebook profiles private, for family and friends only. However, with the creation of the BranchOut app, Facebook has become a hotspot for companies looking to fill positions.

Stay active, keep your profile professional and make it public.

LinkedIn

This is the number one place companies and executive recruiters go to fill roles. Having a LinkedIn account is as important as having a resume—if not more so. Fill in as much information as possible from your job history to education, and join industry-related groups to keep tabs on industry news and make professional connections.

Again, get active and keep your account professional and continually updated.

Twitter

Twitter is the most used network to engage directly with companies. Tweet relevant industry related articles. Create lists of targeted companies to make it easier to engage with them.

Quora

This is a very popular Q&A site with a large professional base. Share your knowledge by answering industry related topics, building your credibility with potential employers. You will be surprised how much feedback you can receive and who is interacting on topics. You could easily find yourself engaged with industry leading executives and experts – people who may just be looking to hire someone like you.

Using these tips will help you create your online reputation. Remember, it is not just about your resume anymore, it is about what you are doing online.

Perfecting Your Personal Elevator Pitch

Personal Elevator Pitch

You’re on the job prowl and your competition has the same or similar qualifications and credentials as you…so how do you stand out? The ability to quickly market yourself to potential employers is key in today’s fast-paced lifestyle.

Can you sell yourself in less than two minutes?
The personal elevator pitch was so named because a successful pitch should never last longer than 60 seconds, the average length of an elevator ride in New York City. Elevators move fast and attention spans are short. So whether a meeting is planned or spontaneous, you need to be prepared to quickly and easily explain who you are and to capture their interest.

To make a great first impression in any professional setting, develop and practice your self-introduction.

  • Have a clear message and goal. You do not need to share your life story, but highlight a few key milestones from your experience or work outcomes. While most people do not remember exact figures, statistics will make an impression.
  • Focus on your audience. Be prepared to tailor your message to best suit the person/people you find yourself speaking with. Highlight your skills that best fit their industry – not necessarily your standard go-to milestones.
  • Be sincere. You want to come across as naturally likeable, not creepy, desperate or unprepared.
  • Smile. It makes a positive impression and will help you relax at the same time.
  • Make direct eye contact and speak clearly. Showing your ability to stay cool under pressure goes a long way to proving you can handle that high stakes job you’re aiming for.

Making the most out of a short period of time could be all you need to gain a job lead. If your personal elevator pitch is successful, the person you are speaking with will be asking to exchange contact information in a matter of minutes.

Congratulations! Your next step is to follow up.

Stay tuned to the Millennium Search blog to learn how to follow up on a successful elevator pitch.

Are You Hiring A Players?

Most companies start small, with a few people wearing multiple hats. But as companies start to grow, they need new talent to fulfill responsibilities that can no longer be handled by only a few people. While growth is exciting, it can blind a hiring manager and completely rob the company of future success. Key hires are essential to continuing an organization’s growth and success. You need A players.

These A players often get lost when companies rush to fill roles. This is likely the mistake of nearly every mid-sized company that fails. In an effort to continue growth, managers make the mistake of thinking that hiring more people—rather than the right people—will lead to effective company growth. Often times, less is more.

An A player is described by Dr. Bradford Smart—in his book Topgrading —as someone in the top 10% of skill in their compensation range. He mentions that A players can be found in any pay range, so don’t assume you cannot afford A players.

In order to hire A players, look for people—whether already inside your organization or candidates applying for a position—who can create focused, collaborative and results-driven teams. These people facilitate creativeness in others, relay a strategically sound vision and work at an extremely high energy level. The best part of an A player is that they hire other A players when placed in a management position.

By hiring A players , you are establishing a positive and sustainable impact on the work environment inside your organization, which will soon reflect outwardly. By not settling for C players or even B players, your current employees will start to take notice. Those who are not quite yet A players, will either step it up or find other opportunities. Smart hiring challenges employers to take a long-term success approach and this starts with the team that makes your company run.

Of course, hiring A players, takes time and effort. A small company or even some mid-sized companies may not be able to spend such a concentrated effort on finding these A players to help solidify their companies future success. Many of these companies do take advantage of working with recruiters whose job is to find A players.

Hiring a recruiting agency to focus on this very important task could be an option. If you are concerned with this idea because of cost, just consider the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on one mis-hire and the long term effects it will have on your organization. These agencies know where the A players are and can weed out the candidates who will not better your organization in the long run.

When a company is only as successful as the people who are inside it, doesn’t it just make sense to only hire A players?

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