At Hired By Startups, we have a saying.
"If you want to hire exceptional, you need to be exceptional"
This is obvious, right?
Every startup in our portfolio of clients wants to hire the very best.
Exceptional talent that could have worked anywhere, but chose to join their startup.
Unfortunately, most startups take an average approach to hiring. This leads to attracting average candidates.
They fail to put in the upfront work which would have helped them attract better talent.
For a start, it means a well defined role with an accompanying job description.
It means a well crafted job advert, written in a compelling way to attract good candidates.
Finally, it means a defined and documented processes for assessing candidates.
This shouldn't sound complex, because it isn't.
It's three separate documents that, if templated, you can reuse for each hire.
Yet, most startups don't bother with this.
At best, we'll receive a job description from a Founder, which they've also posted online as an advert.
This usually involves 5-6 bullet points on the job and requirements.
At worst, we won't receive anything at all.
First, documenting the role forces you to define the role. Without considering what you're looking for, how will you know when you find it?
Second, you have a document that doesn't do anything well. It doesn't sell the job to prospective candidates. Nor does it give the candidate a clear picture of the opportunity.
Finally, it gives the candidate the impression that you don't care that much about the job. If you don't care about the job, you don't value the skills or experience needed. Without that, you don't value the candidate. This is far from compelling.
The real issue here is that it can be a silent killer of a good hiring process.
Why? Because average candidates don't care. Average candidates are looking for a job. Average candidates will click 'fast apply' without a care about the role or business.
If you're a startup used to receiving average applications, the best is still the best of an average bunch.
Exceptional talent is on a whole new level. Exceptional talent isn't looking for a job, they're looking for an opportunity.
Exceptional talent will read an advert twice. Exceptional talent will research the startup and leadership team. Exceptional talent will speak with their network for feedback and intel. Then if they're satisfied, and only if their satisfied will they make an application.
Exceptional talent will then want more information on the business, market, team, investors. They will approach it with the same vigour as prospective investors. Exceptional talent is investing something far more precious than capital. They're investing their time, and the cost of a bad decision can stall a high growth career.
If you don't have an exceptional job advert, you won't get exceptional attention.
If you don't have a compelling careers page, you won't get exceptional applications.
If you don't have a structured job description, you won't get exceptional interviews.
If you don't interview exceptional candidates, you can't hire them.
Take the time to write a compelling job advert for each role. Work with a copywriter if you can. Remember, the key is in the name. This is an advert. The aim is to attract attention, filter for good prospects and gain a clear outcome.
Create a careers page in a similar manner. Work with a copywriter and show you have a defined mission and values. This should be polarising, you can't attract people without repelling others.
Write a well defined job description. Think of this as a pitch deck to potential 'time investors'. Better yet, structure it as a pitch deck. Why is this a good market, why is your solution the best, why are you the team to deliver it and why should they join you?
Finally, write a clear set of criteria for each interview. This will help structure your thinking, better evaluate candidates and remove bias.
Actually try and hire exceptional people and don't settle for average. I'm still amazed at many startups hire to 'fill a role'. You should hire to add exceptional people to your team.
We specialise in helping early stage startup Founders hire exceptional talent. We can help you transform your candidate attraction, engagement and selection workflows.
Get in touch with us today for a complimentary chat about how work.