According to a survey, the lack of a performing team is the third biggest reason of failure for many startups. Similarly, many new ventures find it hard to scale their business due to lack of quality talent. Moreover, startups can’t afford to make a hiring mistake as one wrong hire can stall their growth and set them back for months. Toxic hires can even lead to the closure of business altogether. Thus, it is crucial for entrepreneurs to plan their hiring and invest adequate time in executing their hiring strategies flawlessly.
Yet to be established credibility, and limited resources make it harder to lure great talent to your new venture. However, some tweaks in your hiring strategy may bring fruition and enable you to hire the best fit talents.
Define your business
There are many smart and talented people who are ready to take risks and join startups if they like the organizational culture and get fulfilling career opportunities. It doesn’t mean that you change your business culture to suit the need of new hires. Rather, you should define your business, the culture, mission, and vision clearly.
You need not write a lengthy document with HR policies and a glossary of terms. Rather, in one page, just outline your vision for the business and how you would like the organization to look in the next few years. Don’t be vague, diplomatic or too bombastic about your goals, products or accomplishments. Remember that authenticity is the key to maintaining long-term relationships.
Post the points mentioned above on your website and promote it aggressively. Also, make organizational culture a key element of your digital identity.
Set a process for hiring and retaining talent
Many startups skip a structured recruitment process and hire employees based on their judgment or personal references. Studies have shown that a formal hiring process can evaluate the performance of potential recruits better than an ad hoc process. Thus, create a process to hire performing employees and weed out the rest. A preliminary hiring process may include the following:
- Defining job description
- Attracting talented candidates
- Short-listing Profiles
- Technical Tests
- Structured Interviews
- Cultural fit analysis
- Performance appraisal system
- Retention Strategies
- Exit interviews
- Periodical review of the recruitment process
Once you create a process, stick to it. A process will not only help in hiring the best among the pool of applicants, but it also enables you to learn the nuances of hiring and firing. Also, no processes are perfect. So, start with a basic framework and upgrade it step by step so that the system can meet your future hiring challenges. Use technology to automate the repetitive tasks and help you focus on doing things that matter.
Once you develop a sound framework to hire the best talent, you need to build a pipeline of candidates. Many startups make a mistake by not building the pipeline. They stop hiring as soon as they meet immediate requirements. However, if an employee leaves urgently or the volume of business increases suddenly, you may end up skipping the recruitment process and hiring wrong people. Thus, never stop the hiring cycle. You may slow down the process when you have no immediate requirements, but keep it going.
Be quick in hiring and firing
Don’t confuse ‘fast’ with ‘hurry’. You need to be faster to hire the best-fit people quickly. Many good candidates get frustrated with the lengthy hiring process. Longer recruitment cycles also increase the cost of hiring. Thus, be on the spot or make quick decisions if you need to think about certain parameters. Communicate your decisions quickly with candidates.
The same goes with firing the wrong recruits. The moment you get a credible evidence or a strong feeling about the misfit, you should make a quick decision. One toxic hire can undo years of hard work. Thus, don’t hesitate in making a tough decision.
Many founders have focused solely on product development and sales & marketing. They take hiring of talented employees for granted. A few years back it was true that people were enthusiastic about joining upcoming tech teams in the hopes of making it big in the future. However, it is no longer true especially in the case of bootstrapped startups. Thus, invest significant time and effort in creating a winning team and see the magic of enthusiastic people yourself.
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