In my previous posts, I described the recruitment process as based on four major principles: culture based recruitment, workforce planning, transactional activities and selection. I also mentioned that many start-ups fail because they duplicate the recruitment principles of big corporations and focus their time and efforts on the transactional part of the recruitment process, which actually should take about 5% of the recruitment time for start-ups.

HR practices (and even some of those that are defined as best practices) used by big organisations were developed to address certain problems.

Start-ups face different challenges and operate in an environment that requires fast time to market. Hence, duplicating administrative practices used by corporates into start-ups is not going to lead them to win the war on talent and have the right people, with the right skills at the right time.

Once the start-up knows the cultural match and has done its workforce planning, it is time to start the transactional recruitment process. Here is how you can achieve great results with short transactional recruitment:

1.    Avoid position descriptions!

Unless your clients require PDs as part of their tender conditions, you can recruit great people without wasting your time on a document that will not be used for the recruitment.

There is nothing more annoying than hearing the sentence: “it’s not in my position description” (believe me- if I had a $ for every time I heard that …) …Start-up team members are expected to do much more than the described job. Candidates that will not take a role because they expect to get a written position description, are probably not a good fit for a start-up anyway.

If you make a decision to have position descriptions for recruitment, then you will need to continue updating them, whenever these positions are changed. And in start-ups, there are changes on regular basis. So, if you write position descriptions for all positions, you need to review and update them every quarter or two, otherwise, why put so much effort and time into a document that is used once and then forgotten?

The next comment I hear from my clients is that the recruiters always ask for a formal position description.

Well, this is not accurate. Recruiters need the same information that you will use in writing a job advert:

  • The company’s vision (what it is here for)
  • The role and how it helps to achieve the vision
  • The culture and team
  • What success looks like (for the role)
  • Main skills and experience to be successful in the role

Writing a short ad takes less time than writing a full PD and if you answer these questions, you know what you are looking for.

When you use a recruiter, find the one that will partner with you and understand the culture, the team, and the role. A true understanding cannot be based on reading a PD. For recruiters to recognise what a good match looks like, they should visit your office and meet the hiring manager (as well as the team). This will save you time on writing documents that will never be used again and provide much better results

2.    Engage with recruiters for crucial positions only

Some positions are really hard to find, hence if you do not conduct workforce planning in advance, you will find yourself recruiting in the last minute. In these cases, the best option is to engage with a recruiter. However, if you have done workforce planning and know in advance which position you are going to recruit and when the best time to start looking for, there are plenty of ways to save money and time:

  • The village approach- founders and team members should take an active role in finding new hires and attracting them to the company.
  • Founders’ networks and Advisory Board members can help in introducing talent
  • Referral partners
  • LinkedIn- a search on LinkedIn and direct approach
  • Talent Communities- the use of products, such as LiveHire, to easily engage on a daily basis with talent

3.    On the day recruitment process

Here are some tips how to have a short and efficient transactional process:

  • Resume sorting- there is no need to wait with resume sorting until a certain closing date! This is an archaic process that doesn’t match the start-up sector. Resume sorting should be done on a daily basis (preferably first thing in the morning), by the recruiting manager.
  • All good candidates should be contacted for a phone call on the same day. You want to be the first who reaches out to new talent on the market, not the one that calls when it is already too late, and the candidate has another offer…
  • Schedule interviews as soon as possible.

That’s it. If you follow these guidelines, you will shorten the time, money and effort you dedicate to the transactional process and be able to

focus on the most important part of the recruitment process – the selection of the right team members.

Recruitment is not about hiring for headcount, but about selecting those that will stay with the company, flourish and contribute way beyond what was described in the position description.

My next post will be dedicated to Selection– how to attract and select the right people. This phase should take about 80% of your focus, time and energy in the recruitment process, hence lots of tips, ideas, and relevant tactics are promised.

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