Recruiting New Employees?

I've spent the last few weeks recruiting new employees. That's what happens when one of your key folks gets a great offer elsewhere. And when you buy a company and decide you're going to grow the marketing and development teams.

It's late tonight, so this post won't be super long. But I just wanted to remark on the strategy that's been helpful to me in recruiting.

Contrary to what most companies are doing, I'm not recruiting new employees with:

  • Astronomical salaries
  • A massive quantity of organic snacks served in the office
  • LaCroix
  • Inflated job titles

Nope. None of those. I'm positive that some of those could help, but I've not needed them.

Here's what has worked for me.

Every person we've made an offer to has been known by me, or someone on our team. We're recruiting known people. Again, they may not be known by me – but they're known quantities with known track records.

When you know someone it means you've likely seen their work. That's what I mean by known. I don't mean we've been out to eat or hung out at a bar. I'm talking about a proven track record of production.

When you're hiring a developer for a product, it helps that they know the product and can add code to the product quickly because they've already done it before.

Every person we've made an offer to, and has accepted, has been the right person first, and the job has been shaped for them. In other words, I like to find the right person, and then shape the job description.

Here's what I mean.

When you hire a marketing person, the job can mean a million things. We could list 20 skills we want. But no one will have all of them. So rather than pick the top skills I want and then look for someone, I look for people and then see which skills they have, shape the job that way, and figure out how to move strategically with the skills they bring.

People can learn skills. But you can't train desire, energy, or past experience.

The third thing I've done is create a clear (and hopefully compelling) vision of how that person can drive us forward towards the goals we're pursuing.

Here's where most things go sideways. We want candidates to tell us how they'll bring about the impact or change we want. That doesn't make sense to me. I know our context. They don't.

But if we align on how we see them bringing value to the organization, and the vision is big enough, the deal closes itself.

As I've been recruiting new employees (four in the last month), I've counted on these three moves:

  1. Look for known players
  2. Shape the job to the person
  3. Cast a vision for how they can help

Nothing is more powerful than someone who can hit the ground running, brings all their talents to the table, and is eager to make an impact.