As we’ve learned from failed tech companies in recent years, funding can be volatile for even the most successful startups. A critical element to anticipate is how your business will grow with the funding, which is where recruiters come in.
No matter where you are in the funding process, recruitment should be top of mind because when it comes down to it, hiring top candidates is necessary to grow the business and meet investor goals.
With the right tools, you can set your company up for success at any stage of the funding process. This tech recruiter resource guide will show you how to adjust your recruitment plans before, during and after a round of funding.
Recruiting Before a Round of Funding
The time spent before a round of funding is just as important as what you do during and after. Rely on the reasons you need the money and how you intend to spend it to influence this phase. A lot of your plan will include hiring goals, which means as the recruiter, it’s up to you to prioritize the roles that will help your company meet its planned business objectives. Here are a few tips on how to predict growth and set goals before a round of funding.
Establish company-wide hiring goals
If you’re looking to raise a round of funding, your teams are likely running lean, and being bombarded by requests to hire new employees across the business. In order to accurately prioritize hiring needs, recruiters need a seat at the table. Work with senior leadership and department heads to assess immediate needs and determine which hires can wait until after your funding round has closed.
There are a number of things to consider when prioritizing roles. For starters:
- Talk with your finance department to determine how much money is available for current hiring needs and how much will be allocated for growing teams post-funding.
- Understand your short-term and long-term business objectives that C-suite, board members, investors and other stakeholders established to best prioritize roles based on their goals.
- Review hiring requests from managers to understand which teams are struggling to meet objectives, facing burnout and who will best be able to propel your company to meet its goals.
These considerations determine which roles you will need to fill regardless of future funding and builds a roadmap for your hiring goals post-funding. Now, you can formulate a plan to meet these goals.
We analyzed more than half a million applications to uncover what the candidate journey in the tech industry looks like.
Create a plan
In order to follow through on your business objectives, create a roadmap for when, how and where you will attract and hire candidates.
To start, review your current recruitment metrics to see where your strategy is excelling and where it can be improved. Then, look within your company to determine which employees could be promoted from within and where your company has skills gaps that need to be filled by external candidates.
For roles that can't be filled internally, utilize your employees as a resource for connecting with candidates in their networks. If you haven’t already, establish an employee referral program and try offering higher incentives for employees to recommend qualified candidates for critical open roles.
Spread brand awareness through recruitment marketing
Even if you aren't filling roles until after the funding, now is the time to ramp up your employer branding and recruitment marketing efforts. Start building out the initial stages of your talent pipeline by getting both passive and active candidates excited about your company as a prospective employer.
Boost your social media recruitment strategy and start scheduling posts for the upcoming months when you know your team will be overwhelmed with requests from investors and keeping the business afloat.
Create a timeline for recruitment events you can host after the funding closes. You can start this timeline up to a year before the event, so it’s never too early to start planning.
Recruiting During a Round of Funding
Funding places a lot of strain on everyone within a company. Teams are leaner than ever, employees are working long hours, company culture and team building are placed on the back burner and leaders are less available as they are prepping to present to investors.
While all of this is happening, recruiters and HR professionals are reassuring teams, maintaining productivity and hiring critical roles that can’t wait until funding closes. You also need to be proactively attracting candidates and aligning hiring needs with investor expectations.
Start connecting with candidates
Depending on your hiring timeline, start connecting with candidates who could fill your top priority roles after the funding. Mine your applicant tracking system (ATS), connect with people in your talent community, take informational interviews and start posting job descriptions.
While you don’t want to put the cart before the horse — er, hire candidates before you have the money in the bank — it’s important to start bringing candidates into the early stages of the recruitment life cycle.
Hold up, why should I start connecting with candidates if I don’t yet have the money to hire them? Because once funding closes, your team will be off to the races trying to fill positions and meet the growth goals you set with investors. By starting the process now you will be better equipped to fulfill hiring requests immediately after the funding closes rather than start from square one and set your team back.
Not only that, but it's not going to hurt your team to connect with candidates even if you don't end up hiring them. If anything, those connections may benefit you later down the road. Plus, if you already have several candidates in the pipeline, you'll speed up the hiring process and improve cost-per-hire.
Align hiring needs with investor expectations
Keep in mind that the goals set before funding will likely change depending on which investors your team decides to partner with and the conditional requests they make to invest in your company. That’s not to say your initial plans aren’t worth the time and effort; having a preliminary plan in place is necessary to prove your business acumen, but remain flexible, because changes will happen.
Connect with leaders frequently during the round of funding to understand how your hiring plan may need to change. If needed, it's imperative you quickly shift your hiring goals to align with changes in the investment plan. The initial work you completed prior to the round of funding will help your team be more agile in this process.
Recruiting After a Round of Funding
Congratulations! The hard part is over (well… kind of). While your team can finally take a breath from all the funding madness, there is still a lot of work to do. You now have to deliver on the promises made to investors by hiring the right people in due time and growing your business in a way that meets the goals you set long before the funding started.
Previously, you probably hired candidates on an as-needed basis, whereas now, you must hire with the intent to grow your business as fast as possible. A lot of change is coming your way, so we’ve gathered a few tips on how to strategically accomplish your goals.
Leverage publicity in everything you do
Thankfully, you built a strong employer brand and recruitment marketing strategy before you started the funding process, so job seekers who are engaged with your company will be thrilled to hear the news of your latest funding. Use this news as a way to push candidates in your pipeline across the finish line.
Also, don’t be shy in sharing this information anywhere potential candidates can find it from your careers page, social media, local news sources as well as in job descriptions and during interviews. Make sure job seekers know they are getting in on the ground floor of something big.
Grow your culture with your team
As you hire new employees, don’t let steep hiring goals derail the great company culture your team has built. Hire for culture add rather than culture fit so you continue to grow your culture without creating a company of look-a-likes.
Also, do not lose sight of diversity and inclusion hiring efforts as you try to quickly fill roles. Diversity statistics have shown time and time again that if you don't prioritize who you hire, your business and employees will suffer in the long run.
Test out some of these 42 company culture ideas to see what resonates with your evolving organizational culture. And if you feel like you’re losing touch with your culture or simply have a bad culture, try these five steps to improve your organizational culture.
Look for candidates with a resilient mindset
As your team accelerates towards these new goals, make sure you’re hiring people that won’t fold under the pressure. Start by creating candidate personas for each position so you are better able to sell candidates on the role while assessing their fit.
Once your roles and personas are defined, tailor your candidate sourcing strategy to better understand where to attract resilient candidates and what to look for in their profiles.
Don’t be afraid to spend money
Leadership, investors and stakeholders want your business to hit its goals, and understand you need the right people to do so. And the way you've been hiring up until now will no longer work.
To keep up with the fast pace of your new hiring goals, invest in recruitment tools to automate mundane tasks, streamline your process and simplify your application process. You need to spend money to make money, so don’t be stingy about investing in your recruitment strategy during any phase of the funding process, especially after the money is in the bank.
In fact, your upfront investment in recruiting efforts can save you in the long run. A vacant position costs a company an average of $500 every day it remains open, and the global average time-to-fill for tech roles is 56 days. That’s a cost that will rapidly add up and cut into both your top and bottom line.
Going through a round of funding is undoubtedly stressful and overwhelming, but with the right plan in place, each step will be wildly more manageable and productive. If you’re looking for more content like this, check out our tech recruiter resources page.
Use this guide to implement effective nurturing campaigns that keep candidates interested in your open roles.