4 ways to make hiring part of your growth strategy

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The hardest part of growing my business has been, without a doubt, hiring talent, and in today’s market the demand for high caliber staff is disproportionate to the offer. And while it’s fabulous that so many large companies are experiencing record growth, this competition for employees shows little sign of abating – and is likely to get worse, in fact. Companies can no longer get away with selling potential employees a solid salary and benefits; they should also, among other incentives, provide them with the means to have a meaningful impact – to help them understand Why their work matters.

For startups in particular, this process can be even trickier, as they typically don’t have the resources to cover potential hires with money and benefits. In addition, these first employees are often asked to take on a variety of responsibilities, regardless of their original job description or title.

When you find the right hire, it can be like earning gold for your team and your business. Like many founders, I made a few missteps in the way I approached this issue, but the lessons to be learned have been invaluable.

1. Hiring must be a priority from day one

Gathering a staff is hard work, for all parties involved, but the process can be particularly frustrating and daunting for founders, as it takes up valuable time away from other business start-up efforts. But if you and your team don’t prioritize recruiting strong talent early on, the consequences can be dire, especially as the business grows.

Many startups fall into the trap of only hiring when it gets too painful not to, but in my experience, if you’re feeling the pain, you’ve already waited too long. When Lumanu, an Oakland, California-based software company specializing in billing, payment, and collaboration tools, was first formed, recruiting was so difficult that I made the decision to focus first. on product development. Looking back, I should have prioritized sharing my mission and vision with more potential employees. Recruiting great talent takes time, and it’s never too early to build relationships with people who could eventually join your business. An added benefit of this effort is that there is no better practice for telling a business story than to present it to candidates dozens of times a week.

Related: 6 tips for hiring the right people

2. Always be looking

In any given week, at least 50% of a founder’s time should be spent on recruiting activities, from improving your employer brand to networking with potential candidates for interviews. Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, so tackling it is essential. Whether it’s conducting a formal job interview or just chatting with someone at a social event, don’t be afraid to put yourself forward and let people know what you’re looking for and Why. If you do an effective job of presenting a mission and a vision to a potential hire, the more likely they are to keep an opportunity in mind. It might not lead to immediate hire, but it could plant a seed.

3. Hire for strengths instead of mitigating weaknesses

It’s important to hire people who are smarter and better than you in certain areas. Ask yourself what basic skills you are looking for and hire based on a person’s ability to meet those needs. One of my favorite questions to ask is, “What is your superpower?” In my experience, the best candidates always improve on their strengths – they know where they are at and can explain how to apply this super power to have a meaningful impact. I’m also more inclined to hire someone with a strong edge in one or two areas rather than a jack of all trades. Then I can focus on blending unique skill sets and experiences across multiple people to make a well-rounded team.

Related: 4 hiring practices you had to give up yesterday (and what to do instead)

4. Emphasize cultural fit

I consider it one of my biggest responsibilities to attract talent who not only embrace business culture, but adds to it. An employee who is not so aligned can quickly take their toll, even if they bring a lot of skills and experience. Hiring for this type of fit means being upfront about what your business is, why you do the work you do, and the types of people and interactions you seek, including asking value-based questions for you. ‘ensure that your philosophy aligns with that of the candidate.

For example, when I’m interviewing, I like to do a “post-mortem exercise”: ask them what they think might have happened if, in six months, we went our separate ways. It gives me the opportunity to be radically upfront about what it’s like to work at Lumanu so that candidates see our business from different angles, warts and all. At the same time, it gives me a better understanding of what is really important to this person and what they can (and cannot) live without.

Hiring may never be a walk in the park, but by making it an intrinsic part of your growth, you can ensure that you are consistently adding value to a company and its culture. And who knows, hiring can become your superpower.

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