5 Startup Hiring Lessons to Live By in 2015

January 20, 2015

I’m not quite sure where last year went, to be quite honest. The holidays came and went as they always do, and we’ve had plenty of time to retrospect — to look back on the past year, to rehash success and failures, and to think about how we want to move forward in the year ahead. We’re already well into the New Year, and as you dive head first into your plans and goals, you’re also likely forming your hiring strategy for 2105. How are you going to make sure you bring the very best people on board?

Here are five startup hiring lessons I accumulated last year recruiting for OpenView’s portfolio companies. Put them to use and you’ll be well on your way to building out a high-impact team.

1) Always be recruiting

We’ve talked about this a lot this past year, but it’s something that can never be said enough. Don’t wait for requisitions to open, people to leave, or for tremendous growth to take place. Be proactive. Network, take calls, and make sure you’re having conversations with candidates at all times, whether you have an open position or not. Your goal should be to connect to the best people to find out if they could be a fit for your company at some point (that could be now or in the near future). This is especially true for those near-impossible searches like engineering or sales. If you wait until the job posting goes up, you’re too late. Be proactive and get hires in sooner rather than later.

2) Don’t settle

On the flip side, just because a job is open, that doesn’t mean you should hire the first candidate you get in the door. Take your time and make sure the candidate you’re hiring is actually adding value to your team and your company. It’s true that hiring processes can be long, and you may need the help now, but it doesn’t help you in the long run to make a terrible hire. Take your time, don’t settle, and make the best hire, not just any hire.

3) Trust your gut

When it comes to phone screens, interviews, etc., we all have those few things we’re really looking for. We have checklists and questions that guide us through the process, but try to remember that the absolute best asset you have is your gut. If you have a really great or really bad feeling about a candidate, there’s usually a reason why. There’s also a reason there are multiple people involved in the interview process. If they’re in agreement with you (or against), trust that. Don’t spend so much time trying to convince yourself one way or another. Go with your gut.

4) Sell the candidate

Remember, 2015 is going to bring with it numerous hiring challenges. One of the biggest — candidates are going to have more options when it comes to open roles and companies to join. As we head into the new year, spend some time focusing on not just having the candidate sell you on why they want to work for your company but why you want that candidate to work for you. Practice your pitch, understand your passion for the company, and sell the candidate on the opportunity.

5) Work WITH your recruiter, not against them

I’m a bit biased here, of course, but really, you and recruiters have the same goal — hiring the best talent for your company. If you’re not getting enough out of your recruiter, it’s time to take a step back and understand what you both did wrong and fix it fast in 2015. A recruiter is a partner in your hiring process, so talk it out and find the best way to make the relationship work this year! It will make your life that much easier and add that many more people to your team.

These are just a few things you can fix with your hiring process this year, and hopefully you’re already well on your way with most of them. I’d love to hear about additional things you’re looking to improve, as well!

The Savvy Interviewer’s Guide

Improve your hiring efficiency this year. Download our free, no-nonsense, guide to interviewing. It offers clear, step-by-step instructions on how to plan and execute a constructive interview process, assemble the right interview team, ask questions to properly vet candidates, and manage feedback following interviews.

Photo by: Sebastiaan ter Berg

Recruiter, Sales & Marketing

<strong>Katelyn Lagarde</strong> is a recruiter at <a href="http://www.cloudhealthtech.com">CloudHealth</a>. She was previously a Talent Specialist at OpenView.