Did you know that Marissa Mayer reviews every new hire at Yahoo? Google's cofounders do the same. Mark Zuckerberg also spends a lot of his time recruiting talent, which may be one of the reasons why Facebook is so successful at hiring the right people at the right time.
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It's clear from these examples that you don't necessarily need to hire a talent acquisition expert to act as your chief recruiter. Especially if you're running a small company or startup, you can take on that role and be a very successful recruiter yourself – as long as you know what to do.
Here is some of the best hiring advice to follow, based on the tactics and techniques of other startups:
1. Be Honest About Your Expectations
Your company is new, so its direction may shift along the way. Explain to candidates where you intend to take this startup and how that direction might change.
As the needs of your company grow, you'll have to assign additional tasks to employees. You don't want to overwhelm them with responsibilities, but you do want them to be able to adapt.
According to Firas Kittaneh, cofounder at One Mall Group, you should first ensure a potential hire is prepared to accept a greater workload before you move forward with the hiring process.
2. Have a Positive Attitude Toward All Potential Hires
Ali Chapman, cofounder of EssayOnTime, suggests a recruiting strategy that requires a little more time but is really effective in attracting the right candidates: have a friendly attitude.
"When I narrow down the list of potential hires, I invite them for coffee, one by one," Chapman says. "We have long talks, and I try to get to know [them]. When you see someone's character when they relax, you can see how they would fit in your organization. A traditional interview doesn't do that trick."
3. Put Your Personal Network to Work
Dan Gellert, CEO and cofounder of GateGuru, advises all entrepreneurs to activate their personal networks of colleagues and friends when looking for new hires. He found all the employees at GateGuru through personal connections.
Recommendations from people you trust can be extremely valuable. However, you must be sure to maintain your objectivity. Only hire people because they can create value – not because your cousin recommended them.
4. Don't Hire Employees – Hire Partners
"We think of recruitment as the hiring of partners, not employees," says Tal Oron, cofounder and chief procurement officer at Lost My Name. "The people working with us have as much say and opportunity to impact the business as the founding partners do."
The "hire partners, not employees" approach is effective for two reasons. First, it makes your company more attractive to the best talent. Second, it will encourage you to approach the role of recruiter with a greater sense of responsibility.
5. Share With Candidates the Company's Values
Brian de Haaf, CEO of Aha!, says it's important to make your company's values transparent to the people you're about to hire. That way, you can make hires based on which candidates relate to and embody those values.
It's a good idea to share these values on your company's website and job posts. That way, candidates can do some research and determine whether or not they align with your company's values before applying. That will make your job as a recruiter much easier.
6. Hire Slow, Fire Fast
Speaking from her own experience, Nada Aldahleh, CEO at Sandglaz, says that spending a lot of time on the hiring process may seem expensive, but hiring the wrong people is more expensive.
And as for firing, it's best to do so as soon as you realize an employee is not delivering the results you expected. This is a hard thing to do, especially when you're trying to build a startup. You'll be tempted to give a failing employee more time, but that's not a great idea. Be honest with yourself and take action to correct the bad hiring decision immediately.
7. Ask Candidates to Complete Sample Projects
Stephanie Cicarelli, cofounder of Voices.com, says her company asks candidates to complete a brief assignment during the hiring process. Candidates are given five sample case studies, and they have 48 hours to address three of them. Through the candidates' responses and solutions, you can understand how they would perform in real-world scenarios if hired.
8. Create an Environment That Encourages Fast Growth
Auren Hoffman, CEO at SafeGraph, emphasizes growth – something that talented employees are often after.
When you want to attract the best people to your startup, you have to encourage faster growth. You can do that by spending time with employees, investing in their skills, and sharing your experiences.
9. Allow Candidates to Test Drive the Company
At Software Advice, candidates who make it through the interview process get to see firsthand what their jobs would be like by working a test day in the office. This experience is important for the candidate, but the company also benefits. The candidate's test run gives you a chance to see how they would fit in at the company and perform in the role.
These nine practices from successful startup founders and CEOs will hopefully inspire you to pay more attention to the recruiting process. They are all easy to implement, too, which means you shouldn't hesitate to incorporate them into your own hiring process!