Secrets to High-Growth Hiring

By Chris Murdock

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So your business is booming? Congratulations! Bringing on new employees is a momentous and somewhat intimidating process. Employees are your greatest asset. After all, they decide the direction of your company’s future and are the building blocks of company culture. You should make all hiring decisions with care, but this is especially true for decisions at this stage. Follow these four high-growth hiring practices to find your next rockstar employee.

Don’t lower your standards

It’s all too tempting to lower your standards to fill a position quickly. When your small team is drowning in work, you might feel you have no choice but to fill the position as fast as possible to keep your team happy and meet customer expectations. As difficult as it might be, resist this temptation.

Filling a position with a candidate who isn’t a good fit and crossing your fingers that they’ll thrive in your organization is risky, wishful thinking. You may end up wasting thousands of dollars recruiting and onboarding an employee who’ll only stay for a few months and add little value to your organization. The cost of a bad hire can reach up to 30% of an employee’s first-year salary. During this time of rapid growth, this is a cost you just can’t afford.

It pays to take your time when hiring — even during times of rapid growth. 

Prioritize attitude and soft skills over technical skills

Hire for attitude first, then focus on skills. Employees can always learn technical skills on the job, but teaching soft skills is often more difficult. Companies who are experiencing rapid growth require a specific type of attitude in their employees. An attitude of helpfulness, grit, and agility are important to capitalize on the growth.

Employees who’ll be successful and add value to your fast-growing company should be prepared to lend a hand where it’s needed even if it’s not part of their job description. They should demonstrate top-notch critical thinking skills and take initiative to solve problems. These kinds of trails take more time to cultivate than technical skills. This is time your growing organization doesn’t have.

Soft skills are arguably the most difficult to assess in a candidate. Here are a few creative ways to screen for soft skills:

  • Ask candidates to list the soft skills that would be required for success at your company. Look for detailed responses.
  • Ask scenario-focused questions.
  • Have candidates rank themselves in a list of your company’s most valued soft skills.
  • Have references rank the candidate in a list of your company’s most valued soft skills.
  • Administer online tests that validate soft skills.
  • Ask a candidate where they feel they could improve their soft skills.
  • Host a group interview with some type of gamified simulation.

Remember: Attitude is everything when it’s all hands on deck during rapid growth. 

Acknowledge your biases — then check them

It’s important that company leaders and anyone involved in hiring be honest with themselves about their unconscious biases. While often not malicious, everyone has some degree of bias. The sooner you recognize it, the sooner you can take intentional actions to overcome it.

Unconscious biases within the hiring process can destroy your company’s chances of finding a valuable employee by turning off certain candidates, reducing your candidate pool, and even putting in kink in your talent pipeline. Check your biases with these practical steps:

Do not include gender-specific language in job descriptions

  • Example: Certain words are labeled as masculine or feminine-coded. Assertive is a masculine-coded word, while nurturing is a feminine-code word. Try using this gender decoder tool. 

Do not include unnecessary qualifications

  • Example: Is it absolutely necessary that the candidate has a bachelor’s degree? Consider accepting relevant experience in place of the degree.

Use blind screening software. This software allows recruiters to review applications without demographic data. This process will improve your chances of including the most relevant candidates in your interview pool.

  • A study performed by the American Economic Association found that “white-sounding” names like Emily Walsh and Greg Baker got nearly 50% more callbacks than candidates with black-sounding names like Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones. Researchers determined that having a “white-sounding” name is worth as much as eight years of work experience. Practicing blind resume reviewing could reduce this bais.

Don’t allow unconscious biases to prevent you from hiring a great employee. Start by acknowledging your biases. 

Get comfortable with giving control to others

In a small company, the CEO is often involved in all hiring decisions, but as a company grows, this becomes more and more difficult. Learning to trust others with big decisions is a difficult but critical step in expansion. Any high performing and successful CEO understands the importance of delegation.

Before you can get comfortable with giving control to others, you need to find a trusted partner. The HR teams of small growing companies have too much on their plates as it is. Consider augmenting your recruitment team with an outsourced option.

This article was originally published on the IQTalent Partners Blog.

About Chris Murdock:

Chris Murdock is the Co-Founder and Senior Partner of IQTalent Partners. Chris has over 12 years of executive recruiting experience and leads search execution and client relationships along with supporting searches across the firm. Prior to Founding IQTalent Partners, Chris was a sourcer with Yahoo!’s internal Executive Recruiting team in the corporate offices in Sunnyvale, California.

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