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4 strategic hiring tips for fast-growing start-ups

Scaling businesses Impraise, CROWDYHOUSE and Hotjar share their recruitment secrets to help you avoid any headaches when taking on staff…

Ask any founder “What is the biggest challenge in growing your business?” and they will typically say “Hiring”.

Sure, there are getting customers, developing features, and growth forecasts, but they all need to be executed by somebody. And that just can’t be anybody. They have to be the right cultural-fit, A-players, purple squirrels, unicorns…

How do you know which one you need? And more importantly, what should you do to get them?

At Recruitee, an all-in-one hiring solution for fast-growing start-ups, we asked our clients – founders at super fast-growing start-ups – for their advice.

They all approach hiring strategically to ensure that their business runs like a finely oiled machine. With these four tips, you too can excel at recruiting, and get the best talent to grow your business.

1. Scout all year round

“Start recruiting even if you don’t have open spots!” Bas Kohnke, co-founder at Impraise, says. “It can take a great deal of time to find the right candidates once you need them, so make sure you start looking for new talent way ahead. Developers especially can be hard to find, so ideally keep a watch list of talent that you can approach later.

“We save them in Recruitee and use that as the back-end of our growth. We try to keep in touch with the ones that do not fit at this time, but who may want to join the team at a later stage. Send them an email, invite them to a party. Just keep them in the loop.”

2. Introduce the company culture early

Mark Studholme, co-founder at CROWDYHOUSE, echoed Kohnke’s experience in his latest observation. “It can be overwhelming when your company takes off and there is a continuous need for new team members.

“As a founder, your role changes from keeping track of daily operations, to managing team members and recruiting new people. We couldn’t have scaled up this fast without a system like Recruitee.

“I would advise start-ups to hire throughout the year (not just when you need new people), and keep all your candidates in an online tool. Give all team members the power to scout new talent, as it’s the future growth of your company.

“In addition, we aim to create a pleasant work environment. Things like free lunches, Friday afternoon drinks, and parties from time to time, really help build up a team spirit. Luckily, your efforts will pay off and you’ll have more people find your site and less need for expensive job promotions.”


3. Constantly optimising the hiring process pays dividends

Use surveys

Getting candidates is only the first step. The main battle boils down to how you handle and process them efficiently, as demonstrated by David Darmanin, CEO and founder at Hotjar. “We always start with a survey. We like doing really long surveys: 10-12 detailed questions. The reason for that is: ‘If you don’t really believe in joining us, that’s the perfect kind of filter upfront.’ Then we have all the email [response] automated from Recruitee.”

Use video interview

“Then we would request videos. We decided to do this because we’re doing tons of interviews. When we calculated the time on that, it was a huge waste. Because we’re constantly reviewing and optimising how we use our time, we said ‘OK, what if instead of us 13 doing 30 interviews, we do 30 videos, and out of them we choose five?’ So we created the questions and the flow for that. We have again, very intentionally, five standard questions and these cannot be changed by a role. They are standard because the video stage is purely to see ‘Will they match culturally?'”

Implement a paid task stage

“From the videos, we then invite them to do an interview. If the person makes it through that stage, we go to what’s called the task stage. Everything is done purely via [online] chat. Because our work is remote, we want to evaluate how good they behave in that environment. They’re given a task in a Word doc. There is no video, no audio, so that we can see how they ask questions, how quickly they understand things, if they can communicate with us. They’re given two to three days, which is a paid period. If we believe in what they’ve done, that’s the stage where we then negotiate.

“What’s great is by doing this – as we call it – ‘performance recruitment', at the stage when the person decides to join, we literally just change their email and HipChat and they’re ready to start working with us.”

4. Centralise your hiring in one platform

The next person you bring in will continuously define your culture and business. Be strategic about who you need, starting from who you are, plan way ahead, and constantly refine your practices as you go. Feeling overwhelmed? Use a platform to support your growth ambition.

From employer branding, job board posting, talent sourcing, to applicant tracking, online platforms can help you streamline your hiring efforts.

This article was written in association with Recruitee, which helps fast-growing business organise the entire hiring workflow and facilitates the team’s collaboration on hiring.


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