5 Tips for Hiring After Raising Series A Funding

5 Tips for Hiring After Raising Series A Funding

Hiring After Raising Series A

Hiring After raising series A funding is a problem you may have never had before: having more funding than employees. You probably settled on an expansion plan with your investors and now it’s time to start recruiting new staff.

But how can you overcome the difficulties caused by this growth-spike? How can you keep your standards and find the best talent within a more limited time frame?

Here are some tips that might help you in the process:

#1 Attract Talent with the Potential of Growth

Raising series A round doesn’t only give you financial benefits but also gives you a trump card: the promise of growth.

You probably can’t compete with industry giants in terms of perks and benefits, but you can promise them to be part of a growing team. This means they will be there with the company from the beginning, and they will have a vital role in shaping the business, something that huge corporations can’t offer for candidates.

You don’t need fancy swags and expensive perks to have something unique to offer for your employees. You already earned something that will differentiate you from most of your competitors so make sure to use this when hiring.

As Preeti Sriratana, founder of Sweeten told Business Insider:

“The prospect of being part of a scrappy but growing team was such powerful currency that almost half of our new hires willingly and enthusiastically walked away from secure (and better-paying) jobs at places like Google, Bank of New York, and the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations to join up. […] We talked to candidates a little bit like we talked to investors – focusing on the pervasiveness of the problem we were working to solve (very) and the size of the market we were taking on (giant).”

People love being part of building something new so make sure you play this card to your benefit.

#2 Embrace Diversity

A diverse workforce can be a game changer in many fields. Embracing gender and race diversity will help bring more perspectives to the table and you will be able to address a wider variety of customers (and businesses).

For instance, according to the Center for Talent Innovation’s report “The Power of ‘Out,’” the LGBT community’s buying power added up to $700 billion in the US alone, and many people in this group prefer to buy from gay-friendly businesses.

The report also revealed some of the internal costs to discriminatory policies: LGBT people working in unfriendly environments reported feeling depressed (34%), distracted (27%) and exhausted (23%), while those who reported feeling isolated at work were 73% more likely to say they were planning to leave their companies within three years.

Your company’s most valuable assets are people so make sure everyone feels equally appreciated and the best place to start is when hiring. Make sure your candidates are interviewed by both male and female employees and try to put an added emphasis on hiring candidates with diverse interests and backgrounds.

#3 Hire for Resilience

You can substantially increase your candidate pool if you start hiring for more diverse skills. There are certain roles that need some specific background knowledge, but most of these are learnable in a short period of time, so it might be a good strategy for you to test your candidates for their levels of resilience, adaptability, and grit and teach their role-specific skills when they are onboard.

A study conducted by employee stress management firm meQuilibrium, asked 2,000 employees to complete various assessments of their personal resilience, before being quizzed about their stress levels, job performance, and feelings about their employer. The results show that if you want happy, productive employees who stick around, you should probably pay way more attention to employees’ grit.

If your employees are happier under stressful environments their productivity will peak and your turnover rates will drop. This might be worth the extra resources put into training highly resilient candidates.

#3 Polished Hiring Processes

Having rock-solid hiring processes is one of the most effective ways to ramp up your hiring in a short period of time.
It is very important to make your recruitment strategies scalable before you actually need them. Make sure your processes are crystal clear and have structures that can be broken down to sub-processes – in case you want to outsource parts of your hiring in high-growth periods.

#4 Embrace Outbound Hiring

If you want to find top talent in competitive areas, you have to be ahead of your competitors. That means you have to be able to reach passive job seekers as well, not only active ones.

That’s why, in many cases, the traditional recruitment strategies will fail you. It’s not enough to post your ads online and wait for the resumes to come in, you need to be actively looking for talent in your niche.

This means regularly attending niche specific events, being present on platforms your candidates might hang out, following niche specific blogs and reaching out to people whenever you feel you found someone who might be a good fit for you.

You have to be able to engage, select and reach out to the best candidates and know them before doing so, in order to be able to address them with competitive offers.

This requires rigorous hiring processes and often the best way to do this is to outsource outbound hiring to a search firm.

#5 Hire a Search Firm

Periods of rapid growth means periods heavily focused on hiring new people and in-house recruiting lays a huge burden on existing staff. Finding the right candidates in this environment requires being constantly up-to-date on new recruitment tactics and the emergence of new trends.

Outsourcing recruiting to experienced search companies can assure that the staffing requirements of rapid growth patterns are addressed with the right expertise. Search firms have also accesses to passive job seekers as well, which will considerably increase your candidate pool.

If you have the resources make sure to allocate some for finding the top search firms in your niche and outsource at least part of your hiring processes.

Bottom Line

Hiring after raising series A funding can be quite a bit of challenge if you decide to handle it in-house. First of all, you will need rock-solid hiring processes and documentation in order to be able to scale or outsource parts of your hiring. To increase your candidate pool and still hire the best in your field, make sure you embrace gender and race diversity and start testing candidates for resilience and grit. If you still struggle with finding the best talent in your niche, hire niche specific search firms to help you with reaching not only active but passive job seekers, too.

Do you have any experience with hiring in periods of rapid company growth? How did you cope with the challenges it poses to existing staff? Tell us in comments!

7 Tips for Hiring Top Tech Talent in the Bay Area

7 Tips for Hiring Top Tech Talent in the Bay Area

top tech talent

Top tech talent is very hard to find and you need to make sure you’re ahead of your competition if you want to hire in the Bay Area’s best IT employees.

Finding top tech talent is always a very delicate issue when it comes to hiring. Hiring for a tech position requires a tremendous amount of effort if you want to find top employees at an affordable price.

You need to know exactly what skills are you looking for, which in most cases requires the combined knowledge of a tech expert and a hiring manager.

But what if your company is still in its early phases of growth and you don’t have any experience with hiring for a tech position?

Time to get creative and see what practices are out there to increase your chances of finding a rockstar employee.

#1 Be Inventive In Offering Benefits

If you can’t offer competitive salaries, you can still offer an innovative workspace.

Tech roles are usually ones that can be performed remotely, so offer location-independence as a benefit.

Millennials tend to prefer roles where they can decide on where, when and how they want to perform the tasks they are given. And because tech roles have very straightforward evaluation metrics, you can easily offer work-from-home options and more flexibility with working hours.

Google, Twitter, and Shopify, for example, who compete heavily for technical talent, offer cleaning service, free food, yoga classes, unlimited vacation time, and a totally flexible work environment to attract great talent.

While you probably can’t compete with their benefits, you can follow their steps and be creative when assembling your compensation packages.

#2 Embrace Remote Hiring

Once you embraced location-independence, time to start reaping its benefits.

Expand your search to the whole world and don’t limit your candidates to local talent. With Silicon Valley’s competitive area your chances are higher to find an affordable tech talent overseas.

This is a great way to expand your talent pool, but keep in mind that a bigger pool needs better assessment so first make sure your valuation processes are rock solid and you have the experts on board to spot the exact strengths you need.

#3 Networking Works!

Personal referrals are still a very powerful. Make sure to ask your current employees if they have any friends to recommend and offer them referral bonuses if they do.

If you are looking for someone in your area, try to engage with your local university to find early talent. Employers are extensively hiring college grads for IT positions. 27% of all positions for college grads are in the IT sector, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder.

Attend IT conferences and Bay Area tech meetups and spread the word about your open positions. Find the online channels tech talent uses to hang out with fellow professionals and spend time on these channels. It’s likely you will be able to reach passive job seekers, too, who would be willing to make a transition from their current jobs.

Craft your offer around new technologies that only the top tech people are familiar with. For example, Spring adopted Golang and used that as a recruiting tool. Pinterest is now adopting Elixir, a new language that many top developers are eager to adopt in their daily practice.

Grab every opportunity on your online channels (blog, social media) to put the word out about your open positions. Make top talent knock on your door and you will be in a better position to start the negotiation.

#4 Host an Open House

If you have a fixed office space, try hosting an open house to introduce potential talent to your company. Make the gathering an informal one and ask your employees to invite their friends. Mention the open house on industry specific platforms and encourage IT people to attend.

This can be a fun and a very lucrative way to meet new candidates and engage your current employees at the same time.

#5 Optimize Your HR Site for Mobile

If your website is not optimized for mobile yet, you may be missing out on a great source of traffic, not only for your job postings. Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of all internet traffic by 2017.

Simplify your design, make it responsive and focus on the core message by reducing the amount of text on your pages. And avoid Flash and Java! The percentage of people searching for jobs on mobile is growing, so optimizing for mobile is a must if you want to reach people in the tech sector.

#6 Hire for Coachability

Hiring for coachability might be something you should consider if you can’t afford senior level employees and years of experience in a specific field. Test people for resilience and adaptability.

Andrew Filev, CEO of Wrike says “I have always been a big advocate for hiring based on adaptability and ‘coachability.’ As a company grows, processes are going to change, often repeatedly in a short amount of time. You don’t want someone who gets mired down in the old way of doing things and struggles to adapt,”

Find candidates who have the necessary basic knowledge but lack the pedigree and teach them the skills they need to have to fill the role. You can assign mentors from your existing team or pay for an online or offline course – you might still be better off financially than hiring experts with years of experience.

Filev adds: “While some positions require deep skills and experience that takes years to build, in general, I’m a believer that people can make up for some of that through smarts, motivation, and a strong work ethic, especially in a mixed team that has capacity to mentor the transition.”

#7 Consider Hiring a Search Firm

Every company wants to have a pick from the top 10%, particularly in the Bay Area, where the competition in the tech industry is huge. Professional tech search firms can help you find the right candidate through their extensive databases of passive jobseekers and their years of experience in assessing active candidates.

Search firms cost money, yes, but the U.S. Department of Labor currently estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings.

Additionally, Forbes’s research shows that for high value roles you should not select a recruitment firm based solely on price. You want to find the company which integrates with your business so they can quickly find exactly the right people.

As Forbes’s HR analyst put it “You have to select one that understands your industry and shows you a business model for close integration with your business needs.While you may find one company offers more scale or a lower price, remember that these companies must integrate their services with your website, staffing team, and management infrastructure. So their ability to “be you” is Critical.”

What are your experiences with finding top tech talent? Tell us in comments!

Hiring Introverts: Tremendous Opportunity Overlooked?

Hiring Introverts: Tremendous Opportunity Overlooked?

hiring introverts

There are a growing number of studies showing the benefits of working with introverted people. They are intelligent, they are very productive and they require little employee engagement.

There are several industries that are a perfect match for introverts, but the hiring processes are still built around assessing extroverts. Are recruiters overlooking a tremendous opportunity here?

Let’s start with the basics: What does an introvert make an introvert?

First of all, we have to keep in mind that introversion and extroversion are not mutually exclusive traits. It’s much useful to think of these behaviors as the two extremes of a spectrum. Some people fall more closely to the introverted end and others to the extroverted end. There are some who are a bit both: they enjoy social interactions but also value their alone time.

The easiest way to define introverts – those closer to the introversion end of the spectrum – is to take a look at how their energy levels are affected by social situations. Extroverts more likely feel energetic, livelier after social interactions whereas introverts need alone time to recharge their energies.

Common Misconceptions about Introverts

Contrary to the common assumption that they are anti-social, introverts find it simply depleting to be in intense social situations.Introverts need to be alone with their thoughts in order to recharge their batteries.

Here are a few other things that introverts are NOT:

-Shy: introverts are not shy, they just like to think before they speak.

-Lacking self-confidence: there are self-confident and less self-confident introverts, too. They can be as certain about their abilities as their extroverted colleagues, but they will probably be less loud about them.

-Having poor social skills: they can act perfectly naturally in social situations, they just need to be alone after intense interactions.

How are Introverts a Great Fit for the Tech Industry?

There are several studies showing that introverts are exceptionally talented and intelligent individuals. Some of the greatest thinkers in history have been introverts.
Since they prefer professions where they can think and work without constant interruptions, they frequently choose carriers involving working alone, preferably in a low-key environment, or at home.

They usually end up working in the tech industry and operate on maker schedules. As Paul Graham puts it:

“When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. (…) For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.”

Introverts can be very productive when given the right conditions to work in. They thrive when their work is not interrupted by draining meetings and produce exceptional results when the environment is right. This also means they are much more independent in their work and need less employee engagement.

Introverts: Great Leaders, Too?

Introverts tend to build out deeper and more lasting professional relationships and become remarkable team leaders.

Counterintuitive it may seem, research suggests that they make better leaders than extroverts, because “they are more likely to let proactive employees run with their ideas, whereas extroverts can feel threatened by employees who take too much initiative. The study also found introverts to be up to 20 per cent more likely to follow up colleagues’ suggestions than extroverts.”

Therefore, introverts are better at supporting initiative-takers, which is vital to being a good manager.

As Susan Cain says in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking: “We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.”

Should Introverts be Treated Differently Through the Hiring Process?

In short: YES. Most of today’s hiring practices are focusing on assessing extroverted personalities. Candidates are put into stressful social situations with usually more than one people assessing their skills at once.

Interviewers are frequently looking for social signals – even if subconsciously – that introverts are not able to produce. If we want to reap the benefits of working with introverted personalities, we need to make adjustments to the hiring processes.

5 Advices for Assessing Introverted People:

#1 Start with a personality test. Before putting the candidates into stressful interview situations, make them fill out a test to see where they fall on the introversion-extroversion scale. The personality test can assess other traits as well: what are the conditions under witch the candidates operate at their peak and what are their biggest setbacks in a working environment.

This way the employer can decide on whether the role and the working conditions can be sufficiently adjusted to make the candidates as productive as possible.

#2 Dig deep into references. Checking for references will often times tell more about the candidate than a personal interview. Hearing several perspectives on the candidate’s past working experiences can help decide if they are a good fit for the role. The best way to learn a lot about a candidate is not only to check the facts about their employment history, but to ask for honest opinions from past employers.

#3 Making the interview process less draining. While extroverts can thrive in situations where they can interact with several interviewers, the opposite is true for introverts. Make sure to offer one on one interview opportunities for introverts where they are questioned by someone who has prior experience and knowledge about assessing different types of personalities.

#4 Hiring managers should prepare for interviewing introverts in advance. Just a little insight into behavioral questions and preparation on introvert’s psychology can help a lot.

Nicola McHale is leadership development coach and trainer with the Institute of Recruiters. She says: “Introverts don’t say anything unless it is worth saying. So the quality of their input is usually spot on. They think first before speaking and they ask great questions because they think fast.”

But she adds: “They can let themselves down in the recruitment process by coming across as shy, quiet, secretive, reactive and low energy. People usually do not realize how great an introverted candidate is until the second or third interview – or maybe even later – which means they can miss opportunities.”

#5 Help candidates prepare in advance. Introverts tend to perform poorly in unexpected situations. One way to get around this to send out as much information about the role in advance as possible. They usually like to prepare well for assessments and by giving them a chance to do so, their odds may equal out with their extroverted competition who can react to unexpected situations with ease.

With proper personality tests, reference assessments and interviewing, introverted candidates’ qualities can be assessed more accurately. This is very important if we want to hire the best people for “maker” positions, which are dominant in the tech industry. By making small adjustments to the hiring process, tech companies get a much bigger candidate pool that can bring great value to an organization.

It’s time to face the fact that not everybody is cut out for socially draining assessment processes and by giving a chance to people with diverse perspectives, not only businesses but the whole economy will benefit.

Top 5 Employee Strengths Every Startup Should Be Looking For

Top 5 Employee Strengths Every Startup Should Be Looking For

Employee Strengths

What are the key strengths of good startup employees? What makes a good manager an exceptional manager and what are the most important qualities to look for in your next hire?

We are living in a rapidly changing and highly globalized business environment. The demand for top talent has never been higher and with the rising number of small and mid-sized companies, this is isn’t changing anytime soon.

First Comes Competency

Before the ‘70s the prevalent view in the recruitment industry was to test for general intelligence when hiring. This has changed, however, with David McClelland’s 1973 paper “Testing for Competence Rather than for Intelligence”. McClelland dismisses IQ, and emphasizes ‘personality variables’ such as habits, values, leadership and interpersonal skills. He also argues that employers should define the specific skills needed to fill specific roles and then compare the candidate’s competence to these competency variables.

Top 5 Startup Employee Strengths

The competency approach is still what dominates today’s talent spotting. Every employer has to first assess competency level and then filter candidates based on the results. Competency can be tested fairly accurately and you should end up with the best experts in your field after filtering for specific skills. But once you have determined a candidate’s competence, what other traits might be worth looking into?

#5 Curiosity

Especially in the fast-paced milieu of startups, every employee needs to have a curious mind. An ideal candidate is always on the lookout for new experiences and not afraid of change. Curiosity is a very powerful trait that will keep candidates sharp and always up-to-date to current trends. Small companies need to follow and react to emerging trends very quickly, which requires employees to think beyond the fields they are working in, always seeking new challenges.

Curiosity also makes people natural learners and helps them remain engaged in their work, without the need for external motivation. This is very important in small companies, where the managers are themselves innovators and there is little room left for employee engagement.

How to spot curious minds?

To investigate curiosity, you have to see if there is any evidence in the candidates’ past where they displayed a high level of self-improvement without external motivation.

Ask about past job experiences, what have they learned in their positions and how did they acquire that knowledge. See if they were driven to explore underlying issues whenever they had to solve a problem and see if they were open to out-of-the-box solutions. People who prefer staying in their comfort zones will never make a great leader.

#4 Intuition

As the amount of information available to us is constantly growing it is increasingly important to recognize the best option or course of action in many tricky situations. It is crucial for a good manager to always see the whole picture, digest loads of new information on a daily basis and still be able to see patterns and trends.

But how to see if a candidate has great intuitive skills?

Insights depend on having a fresh eye on a specific problem. The best way to test this is so to come up with a brainstorming task for a complex problem. Construct a situational game with an issue that is likely to happen in the position you are about to fill and see if the candidate is able to propose meaningful, out-of-the-box solutions to the problem.

#3 Attitude

Employees with the right attitude are the center of company growth. They are always ready to face new challenges and keep other people around them engaged. Employee strengths directly links to effectiveness, output, and positive workspace environment.

While technical skills and experience can be tested very easily, the right attitude can be difficult to spot, despite its important role in building a good company culture. As Mark Murphy, the author of Hiring for Attitude puts it :

“For example, a newly hired executive may have the intelligence, business experience, and financial acumen to fit well in a new role. But if that same executive has an authoritarian, hard-driving style, and they’re being hired into a social culture where happiness and camaraderie are paramount, that combination is unlikely to work. “

But how to spot the right attitude before exposing the candidate to the working environment?
Questions like the following can help:

How do you react when someone challenges you?
How do you invite input from others on your team?
What do you do to broaden your thinking, experience, or personal development?
How do you foster learning in your organization?
What steps do you take to seek out the unknown?

#2 Grit

What is grit? It is as simple as it sounds: the ability to maintain sustained performance  toward a goal over time.

In a startup environment, there is usually little stability and employees have to face periods of adversity with the same positive attitude as success and growth. Employees with a high level of grit will not bounce back from challenges and will always sustain their performance regardless of the circumstances.

How to see true grit in a candidate?

You can ask the candidates about their ability to focus on projects which take up longer periods of time. Ask about their past experiences as project managers. You can see if they have a tendency for finishing the projects they start or leaving them when they produce no immediate results.

#1 Ultimate Startup Super Power: Resilience

The number one key strength of a good leader, based on our experiences is resilience. This is the most vital characteristic that we want to look for if we want someone to adapt and thrive in the fast-paced Bay Area tech startup environment.

Startup employees are always asked to take on new responsibilities in the company and learn new skills. Resilient candidates will cope well with this ongoing change and they will sustain a good attitude and energy even when under constant pressure.

According to Sam Goldstein, Ph.D., co-author of The Power of Resilience. How can you become more resilient? Here are 10 traits of resilient candidates:

Employee Strengths:

1. They have a strong sense of purpose.
2. They have a healthy sense of control.
3. They accept circumstances that cannot be changed.
4. See change as a challenge or opportunity.
5. They are self-confident.
6. They are optimistic.
7.They have a good social support and are not afraid to ask for help.
8. They are flexible and adaptable.
9. They use sound problem-solving strategies.
10. They have a good sense of humor.

Even though curiosity, intuition, attitude, grit and resilience can be a game changer when hiring for a higher-level position, this doesn’t mean we should immediately toss aside intelligence, experience, and specific skill sets. But after finding the most competent and skilled candidates for the role, hiring for these strengths should be your top priority.

Bottom Line

If you are not working with a search firm, make sure to conduct in-depth interviews and focus on questions and background stories that reveal whether the person has the qualities mentioned above. Don’t just ask questions like ‘Are you resilient?’ but try to uncover past stories and examples where the candidate demonstrated her potential. Hiring for potential and effectively engaging those who have it should now be your top priority.

Top Executive Search Firms: 5 Things To Consider Before Using Their Services

Top Executive Search Firms: 5 Things To Consider Before Using Their Services

top executive search firms

In the Bay Area’s competitive environment, it has become virtually impossible to find the right candidates for mid- to senior-level positions without the help of top executive search firms.

The demand for talent has never been higher. The most sought-after professionals are either out of reach, or the hiring competition is so big that the recruitment process becomes very time-consuming and costly if handled in-house.

It is well known that big businesses have been using recruitment firms for some time now, but with the growing number of startups and mid-sized companies, the services of these firms have changed and diversified.

Nowadays even smaller organizations understand the benefits of executive search firms and use them to find the best candidates as early as company formation.

Executive Search Firms – Your Best Friends

Outsourcing the hiring process to professional headhunters can have various benefits: reaching a bigger number of qualified candidates, minimizing the risk of a bad hire and speeding up the recruitment process.

But where can you find the best executive search firms?

Finding the right recruiter that has a proven track record in the executive acquisition process and understands the nuances of working with top talent is key to making great hires. A few things to consider before you get started:

#1 Focus On Your Industry’s Top Executive Search Firms

First and foremost, try to find the top search firms in your niche and in your area. Niche specific recruiters will have closer relationships with the right people within industry giants and emerging startups as well. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any opportunities, look for a recruitment firm that places people in your industry.

You can start your search by first reaching out to your own network. Most top-level professionals have come across executive search firms throughout their careers so find these people and ask for referrals.

Another great tool is LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s advanced search tool to find industry specific headhunters by selecting your location and ‘Staffing and Recruiting’ in the industry category. You can refine the search by adding some keywords or just hit the search button for a comprehensive list.

#2 San Francisco And Bay Area Recruiters

Let’s look at some specifics now. Where to look for top Bay Area recruiters?

Since the recruitment industry heavily relies on connections, finding the right recruitment firm or headhunter in a competitive environment like San Francisco might be quite a bit of challenge.

A few platforms that can help you with the selection process if you find it hard to get personal referrals:

1. LinkedIn. As we have mentioned above, the easiest way to find recruiters in your area is to use LinkedIn’s advanced search for location specific hits.

2. Yelp: Yelp offers you a comprehensive list of recruitment firms with reviews, and you can sort them by highest rated and most reviewed. Reviews can help but keep in mind that they are sometimes written by company insiders. The best solution is always to find someone who had personal experiences with the firm and ask them about their experiences.

3. Quora: You can search their database for keyword-related questions and if you don’t find what you are looking for you can always submit a new question. A lot of professionals are using this platform to establish their authority in their fields so chances are your question will be answered by people who actually know what they are talking about.

Start here: Who are the best recruiters for software engineers in the Bay Area?

4. Millenium Search: If you are searching in the Bay Area for top technology executives, reach out to us through our technology executive search form.

#3 Networking Is The Key

If you want to have the best candidates when you need them, it is crucial to have an ongoing relationship with your industry’s top executive search firms.

If you have no established connections and can’t get any referrals, start attending professional events, find networking opportunities with executives and ask them about their recruitment experiences. Look for reputable recruitment industry outlets on the web and reach out to the top influencers in the field.

The best way to initiate a valuable relationship still lies in the power of personal referrals.

Make sure to build out a few connections while you have a solid company structure. If headhunters already know you by the time you really need them, they will more likely refer the best candidates to you.

#4 Run a Background Check

Before using recruitment services, make sure to do a quick background check by finding people the firm has already placed in your industry. Contact a few ex-candidates to better understand the recruitment process, their methods to approach candidates, and the ways they present their offer.

There are a few additional efficiency metrics you should probably be aware of before setting up a meeting with a consultant: days to first submittal, days to fill a position, submittal to interview efficiency ratio, interview to offer efficiency ratio, offer to close efficiency ratio, diversity ratio, retention percentage and average salary of filled positions.

#5 Make Sure They Understand Your Needs

After you found the search firm you want to work with, it is very important to make sure they understand your needs.

They must have a clear picture of the responsibilities, experiences, and qualifications the role requires. They also need to understand the company culture, the specific problem you face with the empty position and you must be 100% transparent with all the information you provide.

Craft a report with a detailed role description for the position in question. The best way to make a job description useful for the recruiter is to include your company narrative and a brief company culture along with a detailed list of skills and qualifications needed.

Recruiters will only be able to find the most suitable candidate if you give them the whole story. Making the job description more personal helps the recruiter and future candidates relate to the position emotionally, and can be very motivating, too.

Also, try to stay factual but try to avoid the following mistakes:

1. Using numbers instead of words. Numbers are what will eventually establish your authority in the industry but they are not a big help if you want to make your job description emotionally relatable.

2. Not tailoring your job description for the specific type of candidate you are looking for. Being vague and emphasizing a wide variety of skills is not a good strategy in case of search firms. Help recruiters find just the right person by providing them with a highly relevant set of skills and requirements for the role.

3. Being boring. The search firm will eventually help you craft the best job description, but make sure you add a personal voice to the company narrative and don’t be afraid to brag. Don’t forget that your job description is ultimately a sales pitch.

Finding the top San Francisco recruiters and building out relationships with them should be part of your long-term company plan. You should always be on the lookout for opportunities to network with the top executive search consultants and –especially in case of startups- help them notice your presence in the industry.

Do you have any experience with headhunters in San Francisco? Have you been working with any of the top executive search firms? What were your experiences? Tell us in comments.

Getting Your Docs in Order: Hiring Documents for Startups


Whether it’s your first hire or your hundredth, paperwork is a part of the ball game. This is nothing new for experienced entrepreneurs and HR professionals, but for the rest, getting acclimated to hiring docs will help you keep things in order and avoid potential legal, tax and other issues down the road. We’ve compiled a list of the most common hiring documents to complete when making a hire. Your needs will vary and may be additional from state to state, but in general this list will cover them in large part.


Employee Offer Letter/ Employment Agreements: This document informs your new hire about key employment details. It usually includes the position for which the candidate is being hired and an overview of the job description. The letter will state salary compensation as well as any equity being given along with details. Other items include references to non disclosures, invention assignments and I-9s (we cover those below). And in applicable areas, it may also cover the terms of “At-Will” employment.

Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): The NDA is an important document that should not be overlooked, especially for startups. It basically prevents employees from disclosing sensitive information about the company and the work, both during and after employment. Most NDAs will also include a Non-Solicit, which basically prevents employees from poaching customers and other resources, and (if legal in the state) a Non-Compete, which prevents them from seeking employment with your competitors for a period of time.

Assignment of Invention: This establishes the employer’s ownership of intellectual property created by the employee while in the stead of the company. It should detail any carve-outs for the employee prior to working for the company, as well as provisions, if any, for its use afterwards.

Stock Options Grant: If part of your employee’s compensation includes equity, you need to include a stock options grant along with their employment offer letter. It should detail the number of shares, exercise price, expiration date and vesting schedule. It should also detail what happens to the options if they leave the company, as well as how the employee can exercise the options.

USCIS Form I-9: This form is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of employees in the United States. It is a required document for each and every employee a company hires, regardless of citizenship. You can learn more at http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-9.pdf.

IRS Form W-4: This form is used to withhold federal taxes from an employee’s compensation. This form is used for employees of the company, and not for contractors. You can find Form W-4 here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf

IRS Form W-9: This form is for use with independent contractors. It does not need to be filed with the IRS, but should be kept in your hiring file to be available when filling out 1099s. You can find Form W-9 here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf


So there you go. A fun, sexy blog about hiring documents, right? Ok, maybe not, but make no mistake, getting these docs taken care of promptly and correctly can save you many a headache down the road.

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