Whether you’re making a handful of key hires or scaling substantially in a short period of time, how do you help your company grow responsibly at every stage? This was a question we recently posed in our Digging Deep: Growing Responsibly webinar.
Kelli Dragovich, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Hired, Will Blaze, Senior Technical Recruiter at Peloton, and Ariana Moon, Senior Recruiter at Greenhouse gathered to discuss strategies for hiring efficiently without compromising company culture.
Kelli and Will shared some of the main lessons they’ve learned when it comes to establishing a foundation and handling high-volume hiring. Let’s dig in to some of the key insights they shared.
Establishing a foundation for business success
Kelli has worked in Bay Area tech for 20 years, both at later stage companies that have reached a more steady pace of growth like Intuit and Yahoo as well as earlier stage companies that are in the process of scaling rapidly. One of the biggest lessons she’s learned along the way is to start with a strong foundation:
“When you’re growing really quickly, just like building a house, you want to think through and architect the foundations before you quickly grow on top of that.”
Kelli divides hires into two main categories: business and organizational. Business hires, like salespeople and engineers, will build your product and generate revenue. Organizational hires, on the other hand, like recruiters and other People team members, will help ensure you have processes in place to hire, retain, and develop those employees. One of the biggest mistakes that companies can make is focusing too much on making hires for the business and neglecting to make hires for the organizational side. Kelli uses the analogy of a Jenga tower: You want to add pieces from both the business side and the organizational side to ensure that you have a strong foundation. Kelli says, “Thinking of both proactively can be advantageous from a business perspective.”
Kelli recommends anticipating as far into the future as possible to support growth. One way you can do this is with a dynamic headcount plan. This is a spreadsheet that models different business scenarios and allows you to alter your headcount as you make changes to revenue goals and people ratios. If this concept is new to you, or you’d just like a refresher, be sure to check out “Creating a Dynamic Headcount Plan.”
Handling high-volume hiring
During Will’s two years as a technical recruiter at Peloton, he’s helped the engineering team quadruple. One of Will’s biggest lessons about handling high-volume hiring is to “Figure out the types of candidates you should be hiring respective of your time.”
Traditionally, recruiters have been asked to focus on passive candidates because they’re considered “better” than active candidates. Will shared a few of the commonly held beliefs about active candidates versus passive candidates, including points like active candidates are “not happy” or they’re just “shopping for offers.”
“Are passive candidates the most effective source for your team? Not if you’re growing quickly,” explains Will. That’s why he believes it’s time to rethink some of those old beliefs and see active candidates for what they are: motivated people who are ready to move through your pipeline as quickly as possible.
Of course, that’s not to say that active candidates should be your sole focus. You may need to shift your strategy depending on your stage of growth and the types of hires you need to make. When you’re hiring quickly, it makes more sense to focus on active candidates, but if you’re early stage and want to make a few key hires, passive candidates might make more sense. Just be sure to decide what’s right for you rather than relying on traditional recruiter “wisdom.”
Another key point for hiring quickly is to make your processes as efficient as possible. Will recommends putting tools in place to automate tasks like sourcing, scheduling, and interviews.
Will also recommends implementing structured hiring. This will ensure that all candidates have consistent experiences and interviewers know exactly what the purpose of their interview is and which questions they should be asking. It can also help reduce bias in the interview process and help you make hiring decisions based on candidates’ skills and attributes. Get a crash course in structured hiring and use these templates to help you get started: "Structured Hiring Made Simple with These Useful Worksheets."
Tune in for more!
We’ve covered a few of the key takeaways from the webinar here, but you’ll definitely want to tune in for even more insights from Kelli and Will on how to maintain your company culture as you grow. Bonus: Listen to their in-depth fireside chat with Greenhouse Senior Recruiter Ariana Moon as they discuss their favorite tools, strategies for growing your People function, tips on recruiting with a lean team, and much more.
You can catch the on-demand recording here.