Startup Recruiting is Critical – Sharpen Your Ax

Startup Recruiting is Critical – Sharpen Your Ax

Leaders agree, startup recruiting is critical

Companies can’t go public in this day and age unless people believe they are a ‘hiring machine. – John Zagula, Founder of Ignition Venture Capital 

Great vision without great people is irrelevant. – Good to Great, by Jim Collins

Are you picking up on a theme? All these grizzled industry veterans agree – a great deal is riding on a company’s ability to hire the right people. And yet, many companies continue to view recruiting as an administrative function and not a strategic one.

I’ve seen the same pattern time and again. A startup is growing rapidly, and so they hire a junior recruiter or ask their office manager to review resumes and schedule interviews when they aren’t holding down the fort doing their primary job. It’s not until a company feels the pain of NOT being able to hire high quality people or hire fast enough that they start to wonder if there’s a better way to recruit.

They start considering the strategic nature of recruiting, and finally look to hire someone who can create and execute on a vision of how to scale the company. It’s not that companies think hiring is unimportant – they just think that building a product and getting it out of the door is MORE important. Startups are about ruthless prioritization, and so recruiting is the proverbial can that gets kicked down the road until the inability to hire quickly becomes an obstacle to the company’s success.

Before joining Convoy, most of my jobs had a common theme – fixing things. Whether it was processes, systems, tools, or strategies.

We need to grow from 100 to 1,000? We’re going to have to find a better way to do it. We’ll need better trained and calibrated interviewers, a more streamlined process, a better way to engage with candidates, and know that we’re paying well.

I joined Convoy in 2016 because they wanted to be thoughtful and deliberate about recruiting. The opportunity to join an organization with a mostly clean slate, and build a recruiting empire was an enticing one. The team there remains one of the highest performing teams I’ve had the great privilege of building in my career. Nose to the grindstone, we built a recruiting machine that has scaled the company from 25 to 350 employees in just over two years (that’s right, almost 1400% growth). AHEM!

Bridging the gap

When I made the decision to leave Convoy, my plan was to take a break. I figured I’d catch up on a 14-year sleep deficit, pick up a hobby, and go to the gym (maybe). The universe, or at least, the tech industry had different plans for me. Several colleagues reached out to ask if I’d come work for their companies and build their recruiting teams. After politely declining their offers, they asked if I’d at least help them fix a few things. And so Flywheel Talent Strategy (formerly Growth Talent Advisors) was born!

Since forming FTS in June 2018, I’ve had the opportunity to partner with a handful of companies in the Seattle area to help them realize the potential of a well-crafted, intentional recruiting function. It’s been an absolute pleasure to share my decade plus of experience with companies who are poised to do big, HUGE things, if only they can find the right people to build their products and serve their customers.

I’ve heard that FTS fills a longstanding gap, creating a recruiting infrastructure upon which companies find people and scale their businesses faster than they could with a small team or agency help alone. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to mentor other recruiters and build their confidence through a close partnership on building new tools, processes, and systems.

How we help – Sharpen your ax

Abraham Lincoln said “Give me 6 hours to cut down a tree, and I will spend the first 4 sharpening the ax.” Recruiters and HR leaders in startups rarely have the time to slow down and reflect on what makes a great candidate experience, or which ATS is the right one for their current stage let alone growth plans, or how to optimize sourcing channels. This is no fault of their own, they are incredibly busy people, delivering results despite not having all the resources they need.

This is where FTS comes in – we can sharpen your ax so that you can chop down your trees in record time!

At FTS, we believe the aphorism “a rising tide raises all boats.” Our calling is to help elevate the practice of recruiting. We work with small and early stage companies to get a leg up in an increasingly competitive domain. We train the next generation of business and recruiting leaders to create a culture of talent acquisition based on solid, repeatable, and scalable principles.

I’ve always said that I love my job and hate my profession. While it’s still early days here at FTS, I’m optimistic about the impact we’ll have for companies and my profession. If you’d like to learn more about how we help, visit our us at www.flywheelts.com page or send us a message.

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