“Having been part of the amazing Lost My Name journey through ginormous growth in 2014 it has become quite a challenge to grow the team as quickly as we’re growing sales. It’s even more difficult when hiring isn’t your main expertise and a Head of Talent is your priority hire” Says Tal Oron Co-founder and CPO Lost My Name
As a fast growing startup Lost My Name faced one of the biggest challenges startups face when things are going well, delegation, hiring and managing talent!
Tal Oron gives us 5 startup recruitment tips, so we know where to start:
1 — Understand the vision
Look beyond the job. Selling a career is not about what they’ll do on day 1, but what they could be doing after year 1. Careers are about personal satisfaction and growth. It’s about them, not you nor the company. Everyone wants to enjoy what they’re doing and part of that is in seeing potential for them to learn and grow. Get this sorted in your own mind and selling the career becomes that much easier.You’ve heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If not, go take a look. It’s important to have a mental model of this when thinking about the role you’re hiring for and the level of expertise and seniority you’re chasing.
Takeaway: Sell potential recruits the career, not the job.
2 — Collect your assets
Knowing the strengths of your product and knowing how it will improve the consumer’s life are key to any sales pitch. Much like selling ice to an eskimo; if the ice is moulded into bricks for them to build an extension to their igloo, you’ve cut out their time in having to do this. Their time is valuable in surviving harsh conditions and therefore you’ve created value.
Your assets will include the company vision, culture (check out our team pic above following one of our regular creative sessions), existing team, perks and benefits amongst others. Collecting them is just one part, matching them to your candidates is a whole other challenge.
Takeaway: Learn and understand your company’s USPs to sell to new hires.
3 — Know your customer
You may see it as recruiting a candidate, but I see the process of recruitment as akin to the sales process. In sales, you want to understand who you’re selling to as each customer persona will have different needs. Our first product is a children’s personalised picture book. Women have a higher propensity to buy than men (as our performance marketing ROI tells us) and those with certain interests are more likely to buy than others. Through additional insights we also know how this differs by country.
So we tailor the message based on who we’re targeting. In the same way, I’ll ensure the candidate pitch is also targeted, where appropriate. This includes checking public online profiles to discover their interests, reading up on any publications they’ve written or anything else that gives me a tiny insight into them as a person. This can also be gained early on in the interview; if a candidate has a picture of a bicycle in their Twitter profile, bring up the cycle parking facilities or the contribution you make to a new bike or the cycle club.
They’re likely to spend most of their daytime hours at your company as an employee. However, it’s easy to forget the human part of every candidate, as many are not chasing the highest paid position or the best job title. This is particularly true of startups in my experience. The vision is always much bigger than the candidate can imagine at the interview stage so help them understand what else they’re getting and why your startup is heads and shoulders above the rest. At Lost My Name we certainly have more traction than most other early stage startups. Letting candidates know we’re speaking to Venture Capitalists from Silicon Valley helps. Also knowing we generated £5 for every £1 in 2014 and currently hit 25k+ visits a day helps break down some of the risk factors for candidates. After all, chances are you’re going to be asking them to jump ship from a place of comfort. Break down as many barriers as you can.
Takeaway: Break down barriers for potential recruits by understanding their needs first.
4 — Make them feel important
This certainly comes from my own experience and something I strive for as a hiring manager. Communications play an important role in any sales pitch. As a student of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), I’ve learned the signs to look out for when interviewing candidates. When they’re nervous against when they’re fishing for answers. The best face to face salespeople use (and abuse) NLP to steer and manipulate.
However, during the hiring process, keeping your candidates informed throughout makes a huge difference. The best recruiters I’ve worked with have always been great at providing regular updates on roles I’ve applied for. As a candidate you’re often looking at 5 or more roles at a time. As a direct in-house hiring manager, you have a chance to show what you and the company stand for.
This also rings true once you have them in. Be clear how long they have and respect their time. Many candidates will fit your interview around their existing job and the worst thing is to run late and cram the interview into a very short amount of time. I’ve been there, it’s not the most conducive and neither party will get any value out of it. Being a chaotic startup is not an excuse to abuse your candidate!
Takeaway: Make your potential recruit feel uber important. Make them want to join your startup.
5 — Be flexible
The larger corporates I’ve worked for have always had HR teams with structures around the interviewing process. I’ve memorised many of the typical questions you ask potential recruits to uncover their practical or personal skills. However the more fluid and natural the interview process, the better the responses and overall feedback I receive from candidates. Questions build upon questions. Keep drilling down into their responses until you’re satisfied.
I’m not a fan of following a set script. You can get all the answers you need by being flexible. This certainly requires experience but once you’ve nailed it, you’ll find it more slick and enjoyable. That said, you need some form of validated feedback, so you can discuss good candidates with your team which is where Workable has become a useful tool for us.
Takeaway: The more natural the flow during an interview, the better the candidate insights.