The last 12 months have been a roller-coaster in the job market. The transition from remote work (and back again for some). First, a talent market where one job attracted 1000+ applicants, and now, as the world economies recover, an alarming drop in the number of qualified applicants in Mid 2021.
This problem is particularly pronounced for companies looking for skills that are specific to fast-growing industries like the B2B and software as a service (SaaS) space.
We know a lot of talent teams are struggling to keep up with the growth of scale-ups and start-ups. So here are some tips to help you:
Keep up with high demands from hiring managers
Grow without compromising on quality,
Maintain diversity and inclusivity
1. Stop fishing in the same pond with everyone else
Hiring managers often describe the “ideal” candidate in terms of experience at well known brands. Ex-Google, Ex-Accenture, Ex-Intercom. Let’s, for argument’s sake, say people at those companies are good.
If you know that, all your competitors do too. If you somehow manage to poach someone from there, you’ll pay a premium upfront and other companies will try to poach them from you. You end up with higher turnover, which just means you end up with even more roles to fill.
What you can do: Focus on skills not job titles. You have many options for this: skills tests, peer recommendations, recorded video interviews. But step 1 is letting go of preconceptions.
2. Make diversity and inclusion work for you
We all know there is a pretty big diversity gap in early stage startups. But since founders often hire from their own networks initially, that lack of diversity can balloon. Even extremely well known startups have struggled to maintain a diverse workforce throughout their growth stage.
What this means is that by focussing on reducing bias in your recruitment process, you can get access to better talent that your competitors are missing.
What you can do: We have a whole other article about how to reduce bias.
3. Think of that job as a $100 bill.
Of course people want it but there are many like it in the world that are just as good.
As a hiring manager or recruiter, it is YOUR job to get candidates excited about working with you. As any good product manager knows, every touch point you have with a user either generates good-will or consumes good-will.
Think of candidates as product-users: Doing a lot of interviews and assessments consume good-will. Talking about what your company can offer generates goodwill. Other activities that candidates like:
transparency (openness) about salary and benefits,
the opportunity to ask their own questions,
feedback on interviews.
What you can do: Use skills assessment tools. Record interviews so you can share them with your team. Coordinate with all interviewers to deliver structured interviews, so you don’t ask the same questions multiple times.
4. Use tech to keep hiring managers in the loop from day 1
Ever found the perfect candidate only to find that a hiring manager was looking for something different? As a scaling startup, your hiring manager is probably a VP or department head. These folks are super busy and having to interview an unsuitable candidate is expensive.
What you can do: Obviously you’re using a good ATS system (right?) that allows sharing comments on candidates. But in addition, consider sharing (video) recordings of the interviews you do. If you think a candidate is great in an interview but weak on paper, show the recording first before looking at a CV.
5. Focus your time where only you can help.
A common mistake we see talent teams make is to stay in their comfort zone.
They handle the easier job-openings (e.g. junior sales or customer service) themselves and outsource the harder ones (engineering, senior product, etc).
The problem with that approach is that you are time-constrained. Every minute you spend on filling a role that’s easy to fill is a minute you’re not spending on that role that’s hard to fill. Those easy tasks are probably automatable.
What you can do: Automate or outsource the easy jobs (not the hard ones). Assessing skills, personality, and salary expectations you can automate. Use sourcing networks or candidate pools for high volume jobs.
Share this article with your colleagues so you’re all on the same page as you scale your team.