Posts Tagged: Candidate

Hiring for Startups 101 – hiring process

[This is the second post of the “Hiring for Startups 101” blog series]

Candidate Poster

Once you have a full funnel, it is really important that you move candidates through an efficient and effective hiring process. You probably heard a few times of the start-up mantra of “hire slow, fire fast” but I actually disagree with that approach – just because you take your time to hire doesn’t mean that you are taking better hiring decisions. The key to success is rather a well-structured process. Here are a few elements of a great hiring process:

  • Process ownership: driving a hiring process (scheduling interviews, making reference checks, etc.) takes a lot of time and somebody in the organization needs to own the process. You can leave no better impression as a company than running candidates through a well-organized and clearly structured hiring process.
  • Ask the right questions: hiring interviews focus too often on the typical standard questions – take me through your CV, what are your strengths and weaknesses, where do you want to be in 3 years, etc. But most candidates are pretty good in answering those questions and you need to dig much deeper. I had some of the best results by putting people in a real-life situation. Coding tests for engineers are pretty standard these days but you can apply this to any position. A potential VP of Marketing should present a analysis of the current marketing strategy, a customer service candidate should write 2-3 sample email responses to customer service problems and an accountant should do some excel work.
  • Involve the team: make sure that all relevant people interview the potential candidates. This usually results in a broader set of perspectives about the candidate and helps the candidate to better evaluate the people he / she will be working with down the road.
  • Be consistent: you will probably interview several candidates for each position and it is important that they all go through the same process (same people interviewing them, same briefs for test scenarios, etc.) so that the results are comparable.
  • Gather input and be clear on selection criteria: I have seen companies that involve multiple people in the hiring process but fail to formally gather their feed-back. It is crucial that you have a formal group debrief once everybody has seen a candidate. This debrief needs to be properly managed so that everybody’s opinion is heard and feed-back provided based on clear selection criteria.
  • Last but not least, use the hiring process to sell your company – the best candidates usually have many opportunities and the hiring process provides a great platform to present your start-up in the best light.


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Hiring for Startups 101 – filling the funnel


[This is the first post of the “Hiring for Startups 101” blog series]

I often hear from startups that they don’t see enough (quality) candidates for their open positions and most of the times this is largely due to their passive approach to filing the hiring funnel. Posting ads on Craiglist and other job boards makes sense but is usually not enough in a generally tight market for talent where the best people don’t even look for jobs. Here are a few ideas to pro-actively fill the top of the hiring funnel:

  • “Always be hiring”: take every and any opportunity to position your start-up as an interesting company to work for – be it at general networking events, presentations you give, or in media pieces.
  • Go where the potential candidates hang out: there are meet-ups for Ruby developers, interaction designers or PR and communications people. There is Startup Weekend, co-working spaces, local hackathons,…. You get the point.
  • Offer internships: offering internship positions is one of the best way to build a long-term funnel for any position and a great way to get to know quality candidates very early in their decision process for their future job.
  • Build up enough internal resources for talent acquisitions: finding great candidates is often all about hustling and you need the appropriate time and resources within your company to pro-actively identify candidates – think about an internal position within your start-up that does nothing else than focusing on identifying great potential candidates though web research (and check out how aggressively Google is using contractors to do that).
  • Use your own employees for referrals: many companies have traditionally leveraged their existing employees to identify suitable candidates but there are now many software tools (e.g.; Careerify; Entelo; TalentBin) available that make “social recruiting” less of an effort for your employees.
  • Recruiters: most of the time recruiters are too expensive for start-ups and should only be used for very crucial senior hires. But in case you hire a recruiter, go for a boutique firm that really understands startups and not necessarily the big brands in executive recruiting that might not give you the attention that you need. And look out for recruiters that have adopted their pricing to the financial abilities of start-ups and offer flat search fees (often below $10K per position).

Identifying great candidates and filling the top of the hiring funnel is mostly hustle – don’t wait for great candidates to come to you but use as many outreach strategies as possible to find them.

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