Scaling the recruiting process is one of the most challenging tasks a high-growth company will undertake. Balancing an organization’s need for immediate help with its long-term best interests is an often thankless burden for recruiters, and for those who haven’t been through this process before, there are usually more questions than answers.
In our latest e-book — 40 Tips on Scaling the Recruiting Process — we asked seven CEOs, founders and talent execs to share tips and advice from the lessons they’ve learned by guiding their organizations through periods of rapid growth, and we’ve broken down some of their feedback into four foundational tips to get you started.
CONSIDER YOUR CURRENT STATE
Whether it’s a young startup building out its initial team or an established organization staffing up for a new product launch, fast-paced growth is something companies of all sizes go through. It’s a good problem to have, but how you address it has a lot to do with your current state. For small teams, scaling the recruiting process starts with attitude. “The early days are all about momentum,” says Justyn Howard, CEO of Sprout Social. “Someone who doesn’t have an additive energy is counterproductive.” People who will be comfortable working under tight deadlines with little direction are key to success at this stage.
Larger companies, on the other hand, have different needs. “The people you hire to run a small company can take you a long way, but they may not be the team that will take you to the next level,” says Greg Toroosian, Senior Recruiter at Hyperloop One. “Eventually you’ll need people who’ve been through it before.” Understanding your current state — and where you’re likely to be in the near future — will go a long way in helping you craft a high-growth recruiting strategy, so take the time to do your homework.
If you’re looking to grow fast, arguments and debates will only slow you down. You can avoid these unnecessary delays by gaining alignment from all stakeholders upfront, but this is easier said than done. “Everyone has their own idea of what the ideal candidate will look like,” says Toroosian, “so fully defining the needs and gaining alignment is crucial.”
Get everyone involved in the hiring process together and hammer out the details before a job description is ever posted. What does the ideal candidate look like? How much experience should they have? What skills are absolutely mandatory? How will we assess their fit? This sort of people management isn’t something that everyone can handle, so look for recruiters with the right mix of skills. “Hire relationship-driven and collaborative recruiters who will work with hiring managers and be seen as part of the team more than a recruiter,” says Peter Moore, VP of Talent Management at Dollar Shave Club.
MAKE THE NECESSARY INVESTMENTS
No matter how good you are, and no matter how hard you’re willing to work, scaling a recruitment operation isn’t something one person can do on their own. This may seem like common sense, but many organizations still place unrealistic expectations on recruiters during periods of rapid growth. “The biggest struggle I see at most companies as they start to grow is asking one person to handle all aspects of HR,” says Tanya Jones, Senior Manager of Recruiting at HomeAdvisor. “There just isn’t enough time in the day.” No hiring initiative will succeed without the right personnel in place, so creating a fully capable recruiting team must be a top priority.
And don’t forget about your technical requirements, either. Growing organizations will likely need a host of HR-tech tools, and though the initial investment can be intimidating, the right solutions will pay big dividends over time. “We invested in our ATS early and never regretted doing so,” says Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision. “You wouldn’t ask your sales team to work with spreadsheets. Why should it be any different with recruiting?” Your internal needs will grow with every hiring req, so make sure you’re investing in the people and tools needed to accomplish your goals.
DON’T LOSE YOURSELF
Rapid growth is exciting, but it also places a tremendous amount of stress on your existing team. New managers or reports. New departments. New responsibilities. Drastic change can negatively impact employee morale and engagement, even when well executed, increasing the odds of your top performers heading for the exit. “Remember that the best employees will always have other opportunities,” says Daniel Chait, CEO of Greenhouse. “In fact, if your employees don’t have other offers you probably have a problem.” Be transparent about what’s going on to stay ahead of any potential issues, and explain how these changes will benefit the company and all of its employees. This will go a long way in quelling any unease your team may be feeling.
This is also the time to double down on your culture and values. “Don’t reinvent yourself arbitrarily,” says Moore. “Commit to the values of the organization and stick to them.” Make sure your team understands that even though things look different on the surface, the organization is still dedicated to the values and ideals that initially attracted them.
There’s no one-size-fits-all blueprint for scaling a recruiting operation. It’s a challenging, labor-intensive process that presents every company with a unique set of obstacles and opportunities. Our latest e-book — 40 Tips on Scaling the Recruiting Process — offers tips and insight from seven pros who’ve been down this path, so download your copy today to discover what they had to say and how their experience can help you overcome some common high-growth recruiting challenges.