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.
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!