You know it, they know it, we all know it. The war on talent is real.
It’s such serious business that in Silicon Valley the ‘r word’ is referred to in hushed tones as the war for talent, a no holds barred contest in which companies across the world fight to the death for the brightest, most creative minds. (Homerun)
At Pigment, as in all start-ups that grow from 1 person to 30 in under two years, recruitment takes up most of everybody’s time. Even when we aren’t recruiting, we are probably thinking about recruiting.
So needless to say that we are not the first to wonder, “what is the secret to building a dream team?”
Spoiler alert: there is none. As with most things, if there was a secret recipe, you wouldn’t be asking.
Nonetheless, here are a few things we’ve learned along the way.
This may seem a little harsh and unfeeling when you put it that way. But here is why.
So, how do you make sure you’re hiring a star?
When you hire senior profiles, you’re hiring people that have been working 10, 15 years. Most of them, if not all, have occupied management positions in their past lives.
But in most early-stage startups, the structure is flat. There are very few processes in place, and each person is trusted to get the job done.
That is why it is important to look for doers. People who are willing to relinquish a management position, to join the project as individual contributors.
But how can you tell? Two things to keep in mind:
There should be a saying that goes along the lines of “before hiring someone for a position, walk a mile in their shoes.” Or something like that.
The point is, as a company grows, founders have to start recruiting for all kinds of positions, including those they are not familiar with. That is why it is so important to spend some time learning about these roles before actually looking for people to fill them.
Calibrating a role is an essential part of the process, one that is often overlooked, resulting in unfortunate mismatches and errors in recruitment.
How do you do that? There is really only one way:
Your network. Talk to experts in the field. Looking to hire someone in marketing? Call a CMO and ask them what they look for in a marketer. Then ask them who are the three marketers they admire most. And call those people.
The good news is, people generally love talking about what they are good at.
This is true of every company ever, but perhaps more true for an early-stage startup.
You hire potential. Says Dave Kellogg, The thing to remember with startups (and high-growth companies in general) is that you don’t want to hire the person you need now; you want to hire the person you need three years from now.
Here are three questions you should ask yourself in every hiring process. Call it the what-can-want framework.
But let’s be real. Most of us don’t have psychic abilities, and Magic 8-balls haven’t worked since 1995.
So you take a leap of faith.