By: Tina Wie, Three Day Rule
Finding and hiring the best talent is one of the most important decisions an entrepreneur can make. In the cash-strapped, resource-constrained world that entrepreneurs live in, there is nothing more important than finding the right people to help scale your business. For first-time entrepreneurs, the hiring process can seem particularly daunting given the amount of time and upfront investment that is necessary to find the right people for your team. At Three Day Rule, our matchmakers help our clients navigate similarly murky waters on their quest to find their ideal life partner. Based on our matchmaking experiences, here are some tips to guide you in your search for top-notch talent:
Assess your needs. In the dating world, the search for the perfect match begins with a thorough and thoughtful assessment of who you are, what you are looking for, and a reasonable list of non-negotiable attributes that you are looking for in a partner. Start-ups looking to expand their team need to go through a similarly rigorous self-evaluation process to ensure that they have identified the right hiring needs for their business. Developing a specific and compelling job description will clarify your needs and provide you with a blueprint for a successful recruiting strategy. As the age-old adage goes, “Opposites attract”, so look for folks that complement the qualities of your existing employees to add bench strength to your team.
Develop a pipeline. When you are single and looking for a mate, the numbers game is an important tactic for building your pipeline and assessing your options in the early stages of evaluation. Similarly, in recruiting, developing a robust pool of potential candidates upfront will give you the opportunity to assess the talent pool against your needs and gain valuable knowledge of the market (e.g., average salary ranges and skill sets of your desired hire). Keep in mind that recruiting and interviewing should be an on-going process. Even if you aren’t actively looking today, your life will be much easier if you are continuously keeping a pulse on the talent market and have an existing pool of candidates to leverage as your start-up grows and evolves.
Be resourceful. As matchmakers, we employ a variety of resources to find clients their ideal match – from leveraging our personal networks to scouring industry-specific, professional, and social events, and hosting our own mixers. When recruiting for your start-up, don’t forget to leverage all of your resources, from personal networks to social media, to broadcast your hiring needs. The best hires will likely come through your personal network through a trusted person who can vouch for their credentials. Attend meet-ups and social events and ask to be introduced to potential candidates by leveraging your LinkedIn contacts.
The “Hardship Test”. When you are dating, you are ultimately looking for a partner that will love you despite your flaws (loyal), be your champion even during the most challenging of times (committed), and stick with you through the unexpected twists and turns of life (resilient). Working at a start-up can be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs that requires employees that are loyal, committed, and resilient. Look for these qualities in your candidates. When you are interviewing potential hires, utilize behavioral interviewing tactics to get a sense of whether they are a self-starter, can deal with ambiguity, and possess the “roll-up-sleeves” attitude needed to succeed in the start-up world.
Market Yourself. In both dating and recruiting, first impressions matter. In order to attract the best talent, you need to craft a compelling pitch about the company, culture, and team’s track record. Be sure to market the benefits and perks that you can offer (Fully stocked kitchen! Monthly happy hours! Free swag!). Only then will you be able to seal the deal once you find the ideal match.