Hiring as a new startup is challenging. In the growth phase, a lack of resources and a need to hire quickly, can often lead to mistakes in the recruiting process, affecting team performance and productivity. “Most companies are failing at hiring,” said Avery Francis, founder, Bloom, a Toronto-based talent consultancy for startups. “Even though companies spend thousands every year on bloated recruiting fees, conference sponsorships, and the latest hiring tech tools, they’re only getting by, instead of excelling with hires.”
To get better at hiring, there are two key areas managers need to pay more attention. Here’s what you can do now to prepare yourself:
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS
It’s not always clear which hire is going to help the team and business the most. There are three questions Francis asks leaders when they need clarity on the best approach for the company:
What challenges are you facing?
What challenges is your team facing?
What’s a core skill set your team needs that you don’t have to solve these problems?
Without taking this time to reflect, senior leadership can end up focusing on the challenges they’re facing. “They hire to solve that challenge and don’t look at the company’s hiring needs from a holistic view,” said Francis. Instead, turn your focus to your team: their everyday challenges and barriers to perform and meet goals.
AVOID THESE COMMON MISTAKES
Simple mistakes can sometimes lead to serious repercussions: making the wrong hire, disappointing a candidate through the interview process, or building a homogeneous team. Francis says the most common challenges she witnesses is a lack of building diverse teams and training managers for hiring. “Companies don't think about the importance of building diverse teams early enough. Some companies hire too many referrals and lean heavily on bias through the interview process to make critical hiring decisions.”
As a result, Francis says, companies hire friends through board members, investors, or employees. While you can make valuable hires through referrals, the negative effect is that it builds homogenous teams over time--we hire people who are similar to us. There are two steps you can take to build diverse teams: train your hiring managers to be aware of bias and build partnerships with organizations that can connect you to underrepresented groups.
In early growth periods, there’s often not yet a talent manager in place, which means anyone in the company could interview candidates. In fact, Francis says it’s the most common mistake she comes across: companies aren’t training their hiring managers about how to hire. She says managers need to know what they can’t discuss during the interview, how to be inclusive in their approach, and how to evaluate candidates against core business values.
AS A NEXT STEP...
Before you need to hire, start laying the foundation for a strong and smart hiring process: reflect with your team about what support they need, train managers about how to hire, and consider diversity in every hire.