Whilst the natural instinct in economic uncertainty is to strip back costs and make redundancies, some companies use this as an opportunity to overtake their competitors.
Past recessions have seen the tech industry walk through relatively unscathed. Continual innovation of technology means that companies developing leading solutions are always on investors radars. Whether you have secured funding and are ready to grow your team or are in the process of looking for investment, having a refined recruitment strategy will limit risk and maintain costs during the scaling up process.
Our Senior Recruitment Consultant, Douglas Paget, provides 7 tips on how Start-ups can enhance their hiring strategy to accelerate growth, despite the current economic uncertainty:
1. Know your Budget
The best way to limit risk when hiring is to secure your funding before commencing the process. If you have plans to scale up quickly, it can be tempting to jump in headfirst, but this can create issues later down the line. Interviewing candidates prematurely can cause them to be frustrated, should you have to drop the vacancy due to a lack of funds. Also, if you hire the ideal candidate and have to let them go because the funding you were hoping for never came through, not only have you jeopardised the relationship with the candidate, but you have also cost the company money. So, be patient and know your recruitment budget before setting off!
2. Stick to the Basics
Once you have established your budget, you need to know what you are looking for and stick to it. Before you even write the job spec, speak to your existing team; ask them what tasks are taking too long, where they could do with some extra resources and support and use this as the basis of your hiring strategy. Ensure the role doesn’t grow arms and legs, stick to the basics and original specification, and don’t expand the role to cover too many things at once. You should also decide on the salary band and benefits that come with the role and communicate this to candidates from the initial discussion. Consider providing equity to early hires, capitalise on being a start up by offering unique benefits to candidates. Knowing exactly what you need and having a concise hiring goal is key to getting the process right.
3. Change Up Your Job Spec
Don’t be tempted to use the same job spec for each new role! Strip it back, review the details and tailor it to the specifics of the job. Not every role is the same, things change over time so keep the specs up to date and relevant. Speak to your existing team for advice on the technicalities of the role – don’t leave writing the spec entirely in the hands of someone non-technical. The job spec is the initial selling point to the candidate, and it’s obvious when a spec has been recycled. In fact, many candidates are put off applying for a vacancy if the job spec is dated or boring. So, if you want to attract the best talent, keep those specs fresh!
4. Keep It Short and Sweet
Once you have defined the requirements of the role, the next step is to outline the interview process. It’s important to value your candidates time; avoid a tedious process by cutting out unnecessary stages. Think, is a technical test really required for this position or will one or two interviews suffice? If it is necessary, make sure you know exactly what the aim of the technical test is and stick to a specific time limit – no technical test should ever exceed 3 hours. Be agile, take advantage of the fact you don’t have to go through long formal processes.
Use the interview process as an opportunity for candidates to discuss projects they have worked on that they are passionate about. It’s also important to outline the interview process to candidates before it commences as it helps manage their expectations.
5. Redefine Your Requirements and Keep it Simple
Have two to three months passed and you still haven’t found the right candidate for the role? This is a sign something isn’t right, and you need to reassess your requirements – don’t waste your time and resources any further. Go back step two, speak to your team and find out exactly what is required, re-evaluate the salary and specification to ensure it’s in line with the market and your company’s requirements.
It’s also worth reviewing your interview process, keep it simple and consider alternative approaches to the process. Perhaps an interactive code pairing exercise with one of the team members, or a task asking the candidate to create a tailored plan for how they would tackle the project would be more effective than a technical test?
6. Constructive Feedback is Key
Providing honest and timely feedback can be the difference between a sustainable relationship and a burnt bridge. Things might not always work out first time around, but keeping the candidate informed on how they did during the process provides a personable experience. The likelihood of them working with you again in the future will be higher if you provided swift and constructive feedback.
7. Approach your Offer Carefully
Congratulations, you’ve found the right candidate and you are going to make them an offer! But before you do anything, take a minute to consider a few things. First, don’t offer below the candidates current salary. You don’t want to taint the relationship by lowballing the candidate at the offer stage, you should propose a salary that is fair for their skillset and experience. Second, consult your hiring budget. Make sure you can afford the candidate before making them an offer. Start-ups often fall at this hurdle as they are keen to scale up quickly, but if the capital isn’t there to support the hire, other elements will collapse. So, know your budget! Third, respect the candidate at the offer stage; don’t rush them to make a decision. Instead of asking them to decide within 24 hours, you can check in and see if they have any questions about the offer or require more information before coming to a decision. And lastly, emphasise how they fit in with your company’s growth plans. This is an opportunity to set parameters in terms of progression and manage the candidates expectations.
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