Recruiting is tough but if you want to build a great business you will need to learn how to become a great recruiter. These six tips will help!
Force yourself to interview a high number of candidates for VP and senior hires.
Plan your time to interview 15-30 candidates for VP and senior level hires. That may seem excessive; however, planning that amount of time in your diary will force you to think correctly about recruiting, rather than just seeing the odd candidate on the fly. It will also force you to implement proper tracking and management processes, which will be hugely beneficial down the line. Most importantly, you will learn as you go and it will help you avoid settling for a sub-par candidate. If you find the winning individual at 6-8, obviously stop interviewing. It’s the planning and mindset that aiming for a high number will benefit you most when starting out.
Hire specialist external recruiters and be very good to them.
But not too many! If a recruiter feels like they are in a bun fight with low fees and chances of success they won’t bother. Take time to find a small number of specialists and build a relationship with them. Don’t make your decision based upon fees, as finding a good recruiter is worth the money in the long run. Expect to pay 20-25% for a good one.
If you hire an external recruiter on a contingent basis, they only get paid if they fill your role. They will be managing multiple assignments, so the key is to make sure your brief gets the right attention. Being responsive is crucial, and if you ignore them they will eventually give up on you. Once you have interviewed a candidate, feedback. Good interview insight straight after an interview will help refine the search and encourage further action from the recruiter.
Also, consider working on a retained or exclusive basis with a good recruiter. This may seem scary at first, so once you have a clear idea who can help your business, incentivise and prioritise them over others.
Hire an internal recruiter, too, as early as you can.
At least as early as you are hiring more than 1 new employee a month, consistently. It’s way too many meetings, way too many candidates, to have individual VPs and employees manage. And DO NOT expect that hiring an internal recruiter will save you from having to use external recruiters. That might happen to a degree; however, it’s unlikely they will have the expertise and deep networks in specialist areas to cover all roles. They will be able to build a quality list of external partners in areas where help is most needed. Most importantly, your processes and candidate experience are likely to improve if you hire the right person.
Consider screening filters you can apply before the first face-to-face.
Programming tests if you want developers. A critique of your product for a product hire.
This shouldn’t ask too much of the candidate, as the candidate is unlikely to be engaged well enough yet to justify asking for too much.
Make it a fun “test” that takes 5-10 minutes, and shows they are engaged and have a brain.
Assume your personal and extended network does NOT source the candidate.
You may get a small number of initial hires from your networks but it will likely run out of legs quickly.
We’d all love to hire from our “networks”, especially in the early days, when cash is king. Assume your network won’t be able to produce the candidate, and you won’t have an excuse. And you’ll get the hiring done faster.
Don’t ignore those interview niggles.
Almost always, issues you see during the recruiting process become a bigger issue after you hire the person. Don’t focus your interview too heavily on structured, scripted questions as you will be concentrating on those, not that person. Have an open conversation and listen carefully.
It’s unrealistic to expect to hire the perfect candidate, but make sure you know what the trade-offs are and that you are comfortable with them.