Raise your hand if you find hiring employees in start-ups more difficult than signing up customers.
In the last one month, I have met over 60 entrepreneurs in cities across India (as part of my series on selling for entrepreneurs), who said finding suitable talents to scale the company in these cities was extremely challenging. In one city, the complaints were 'very high expectations from ordinary candidates' and in another, it was 'inability to attract people from outside to come and work/live in that city.' And the talent search was not limited to engineering talent.
One company had looked at 320-plus resumes; phone-screened about 35 candidates and finally interviewed seven to find that all of them were a misfit for a sales manager's role.
It begged the question: What is your hiring strategy?
Most start-up CEOs are clear about their cloud computing strategy, have some good thoughts on their pricing strategy and a great amount of insight into their customer acquisition strategy. But their hiring strategy is non-existent.
I only hire from my network is not a strategy. It is a hope. Hope is not a strategy.
Most companies delegate critical hiring decisions to a recruiter or a head-hunter. I don't have a problem with the plan and execution being delegated, but the senior management team has to articulate the 'right fit' employee for your company, where to find them and how to attract them. Else, you will either spend months looking for the right candidate or settle for the suboptimal within days, thanks to desperation.
What are the key questions to answer that will help you determine your hiring strategy?
1. What kind of person fits your company culture best?
Do you have many perfectionists or are you the ship-and-break kind? Do your sales people become friends with their customers or are they just showing up to do a deal?
2. Where will you find them?
Where are they likely to work at? Which events are they likely to attend? The best people rarely have to look for opportunities. Instead, opportunities find them.
3. How will you convince them to join your organisation?
If money and stock options are the only things you got going for yourself, you're going to have a tough time getting anybody but mercenaries.
Is there any particular strategy that you use, which works to get people applying to your company even if you don't have any open requisition?