Good morning In my role at TLG and RedCanary I work with our partners (typically growing software companies) to define and execute strategies for hiring key executives or individuals who will take on key roles within the team. Because of these people who take on these roles have an opportunity to have an exponential impact on the success of the company - finding the best people quickly is critical. This morning I’d like to share with you some insights on how we approach hiring for critical roles in a tech company - but these tips can really be applied to any organization. First let’s look at some of the realities of the talent pool for these types of people...
If the bubble represents everyone working in a specific geography - then it is important to first narrow the pool to everyone in the relevant industry - let’s say Tech. Then we can further narrow the field to people in Tech, who are also doing the relevant job - say leading a Marketing Team. But it is not enough to say that our relevant talent pool consists of everyone leading a marketing team and in tech ... because you want to have someone who is great. So we’ll also narrow the field to people who are in the top 20% of their field. The tiny place where those 3 groups intersect is your target - and its not very big.
And based on my years of experience recruiting in this small pocket I can assure you, that almost everyone in this tiny pocket already has a job and is in pretty high-demand - regardless of the state of the economy. And - the vast majority of these people have NO IDEA who you are.
For the final reality we can thank technology - with all kinds of tools to share information - we are all bombarded with tons of messages. It is great that companies have access to these tools and can quickly and easily spread the word about their company and their career opportunities. But because these tools are SO accessible and because it is becoming easier and easier to use these technologies to send broadcast and targeted recruitment messages ... it can sound like a whole lot of noise. And any individual message can get lost in the noise. So the challenge can be daunting, but the stakes are high...
What I’ve found is that the best way to approach this, is by thinking of recruitment as an exercise in sales and marketing. Too many companies view the recruitment function as an admin or HR duty that involves writing a templated job description, screening a pile of resumes and testing and qualifying the people who want it get in the door. That’s fine if you’re Google perhaps, or the Toyota production plant - but not when you are faced with the realities of a tech company. So in marketing terms - here is our reality again: Product = Job ... you have to think of your company and this job as a product ... recruiting is therefore about finding qualified buyers, bringing them to the table and getting them excited about signing up
Here are 4 simple steps in a marketing process that when applied to recruiting, will change your ability to build a great team ... you need to invest time to think about these things when its time to build your team ... and this is not just the role of HR - where do they work/did they work - what groups do they belong to - who do you already know that is plugged into this network What is Important - this is key ... we’ve learned that there are some common truths when it comes to career values for sr. people 1 - they want to work with other great people - smart people, great leaders 2 - they want to work on cool projects - so that they can learn and grow and be current 3 - they want to work on problems that really matter
Because we know what is important to these great people we want to hire - we now have to define our jobs based on what is going to get them inspired and keep them interested. Think about why great people choose to get out of bed and dedicate most of their waking hours to your company .. it is not because they can walk to work, or because you have good treats in the fridge ... - maybe you are developing something that will really change the world - maybe you are working on projects that enable people to be really creative - maybe your environment supports autonomy and growth - think about why your customers love you here a hint ... if you can’t think of anything that makes your company or your job really inspiring, you might have to settle for hiring someone who is just looking for a job that they can walk to, where they have good treats in the fridge
So - when you draft the recruitment messaging and job descriptions for your company - think of them as opportunity descriptions So many job descriptions I read give a very generic and pretty boring description of the company and then launch full steam into the grocery list of skills and qualifications. But think about how that would work if you put your sales qualifiers into your product marketing material. Some hi-level qualifiers make sense - to give people an idea of how you’ll measure fit ... but the focus has to be marketing and selling.
So now you understand who you want to hire and what is important to them, you have defined your company and the role in terms that will inspire these people, and you have marketing documents that clearly explain this and are designed to get attention and capture imaginations. Now you go to market - this is a small group - so perhaps broadcasting the position on the unemployment boards doesn’t make sense and is not a good use of time or dollars - instead invest in building and using a network (and keep track of this network ... this is why we have RedCanary ... it is the cornerstone of our network and provides an opportunity for us (along with our partners) to maintain a relationship with great people - talk to people (aka direct selling) - spread the word and find others to spread the word for you ... if your messaging is done well, it won’t be noise (and btw .. the great people you network with might one day also be investors, customers etc ... time well spent) - use technology tools wisely and in a targeted way - enlist your best people to deliver the message this is all pretty simple, but it takes some work ... but i expect that you’ll find the investment in effort well worth the results.
I’m a Rare Bird! <ul><li>Product = Job Opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>There are Few Great Prospects </li></ul><ul><li>Best Prospects are not Actively Shopping </li></ul><ul><li>There are lots of Competing Products & Messages </li></ul>
Here I am! <ul><li>Understand your Prospects </li></ul><ul><li>Where are they? </li></ul><ul><li>Who are they? </li></ul><ul><li>What is important to them? </li></ul>
I want to be a high-flyer! <ul><li>Define/Design a Great Job </li></ul><ul><li>What makes your Company great? </li></ul><ul><li>Why does your current team love about their work? </li></ul><ul><li>What is it about this job that will Inspire? </li></ul>
Now you have my attention! <ul><li>Craft and Opportunity Description </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not about Qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>What’s in it for Them </li></ul><ul><li>Be Specific </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What will they do & Why does it matter </li></ul></ul></ul>
Now you’re flying where the birds are! <ul><li>Target your Message and Sell </li></ul><ul><li>Build and use a Network </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to People </li></ul><ul><li>Be Selective when Advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Make it Everyone’s Job </li></ul>