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Debugging Recruiting

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Recruiting great people is a priority for any company at any stage of their growth. In the early stages, finding and hiring your initial team is core to instilling the right company culture. To hire effectively, founders and managers need to be thoughtful and organized about their recruiting process — from the first screening until delivering an offer. A sloppy and inconsistent process reflects poorly on the company, and can be the difference between a “Yes, I want to join” and “No, I don’t think this is the right fit.”

As a Talent Partner at Greylock, I work with our portfolio and advise them on refining their recruiting processes. As such, I’ve become familiar with many of the common problems that both new and experienced teams face when recruiting.

Recently, I gave a talk that addresses some of these frequent “bugs” in the recruiting process, and want to share my presentation here more broadly. I go over the three stages of recruiting — sourcing, evaluation, and conversion — covering common mistakes made at each level as well as the questions you need to answer to avoid them.

The full talk will be available on video and podcast soon, but for now here are the slides from my deck. I hope these thoughts and questions are helpful when thinking about your recruiting process.

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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Debugging Recruiting

  1. Made an offer! Yay!!
  2. Candidate said No..
  3. DEBUGGING RECRUITING Dan Portillo
  4. Background Dan Portillo Talent Partner
  5. Basic Process Sourcing Referrals, Direct Source, Applications, Recruiting Agencies Evaluation Technical ability, work history, culture fit, references (formal/back channel) Conversion Pre-closing, comp discussion, offer delivery 1. 2. 3.
  6. If you’re not converting offers, nothing else matters. (healthy = +70%)
  7. Conversion Mistakes Person was not ready to receive the offer (preclosing) •  Unclear role expectations (current and future) •  Decision making time Compensation Unaddressed organizational issues •  Reporting structure •  Leadership gaps Scared off in the interview process
  8. Offer Checklist Decision Criteria •  Do you know how they’re making their decision and what they value (e.g. autonomy, tech, people, comp)? •  Who is involved in the decision (e.g. spouse, kids)? Role •  Do they understand what they’re going to be doing and why it’s important to the company? •  How will they grow?
  9. Offer Checklist Company •  Do they understand why the company matters and why it will be successful? •  Do they believe in the company mission? (Involve your investor) Ask for the business •  If we make the offer are you ready to accept? *still wont be a 100%, run post-mortem on rejected offers
  10. A great candidate experience will prevent leaky bucket problems. *consistent candidate experience will still make you better than most companies.
  11. Evaluation Mistakes Time in process •  Clock starts from the first conversation Lumpy communication •  Communicate constantly; Allow no more than 1-2 days between touch points •  Candidate should not have to follow up Sloppiness •  Missing interviews or being left waiting in a conference room
  12. Evaluation Mistakes Inconsistent expectations between interviewers and candidates Bad interviewers •  Interviewers who are inexperienced, argumentative, or biased will affect the evaluation process
  13. Evaluation Diagram experience –  If not consistent, then make it so. –  Identify and fix holes. Understand your funnel –  When are most people eliminated? –  Where are they choosing to opt out? –  Know your time in process. Sell early and often –  Begin the closing process at the first meeting.
  14. Hiring Process Generate interest, basic validation Technical evaluation, answer questions Work history, relevant experience, technical eval, culture fit, test Recruiter Screen Technical Phone Screen 1st Onsite Determine interest, barriers to joining Recruiter Check-in 2nd Onsite Final evaluation, pre-close Check references Offer Delivery
  15. Targeting the right people and telling a great story will improve conversion downstream.
  16. Sourcing Mistakes Story sucks •  Unable to articulate the company’s “why” Poor targeting Impersonal message •  Generic outreach is *mostly* ineffective
  17. Storytelling Why does it exist, what’s the potential? What’s unique about the company? Why is it relevant to the candidate? Why should they care? Can everyone involved in recruiting tell the story?
  18. Sourcing Do we have the right targets set? Systematically drive internal referrals •  If N is small, find out why Hiring managers must source Hire recruiter, engage agencies Increase external presence •  Events, meetups, speaking engagements
  19. Congratulations! You’re all better at recruiting now!

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