Hire Slow, Never Fire.
Who said hire fast, fire faster? Of course, you cannot have someone that doesn't fit inside your organization, but that doesn't mean you can hire fast. The advice is as stupid as "Marry fast, divorce faster". There are huge intangible costs involved in having a high employee turnover.
According to Equalture.com, "46% of all mis-hires were a result of the company’s need to fill the position quickly and only 25% of all startup hires turn out to be successful."
That's dismal. Why would anyone want to hire fast if 75% of the candidates that are hired are going to be a misfit for the organization?
Hiring someone involves a lot of moving parts, both for the organization and the candidate. It takes time for the candidate to understand the company's vision, goals, and most importantly the people in the organization - especially the founding team. The team also needs to spend time and energy understanding the candidate.
Hiring is the most important thing in building a startup. Apart from the market and the product. The team understands the market. The team builds the product. The team comes above all, without which there will be no product nor any customers for the product.
So far at LearnToday, we have never had to fire anyone. We are proud of that. We have had instances where both parties agreed to part ways because of personal reasons, but we have never let someone go because of underperformance or attitude issues. Such issues have not surfaced because we have never hired anyone who could have such issues.
This has been possible because we hire slow. Very slow. It doesn't mean that we would never fire, but we approach hiring as if we are never allowed to fire people. That doesn't mean black swan events won't happen, but we like to be optimistic about the market, economy, and the performance of our products.
I would have to admit that I have a bit easier than other startup founders to be extremely picky about my hires and be spoilt for choice. I am a trainer, mentor and I have a relatively good personal brand in this market.
Not every company has the luxury of the founder or CEO is a strong personal brand, but that doesn't mean that they cannot build it. Anyone can build a hiring funnel describing the vision of the company and the founder attract the right team members. Considering that hiring is one of the biggest challenges for big companies, it is worth reinventing the wheel.
We have 12 team members as of now and all of them have been part of my audience or students list. They have watched my videos, read my emails, and engaged in the community.
So we choose a few candidates and let them work with us as freelancers first. If we like them and get the right vibes, we make them an offer to join us full time. Even after the offer, there is a 3-month probation period before their job gets confirmed.
All our team members are here to build the vision that we envision. No one has joined us so far just for the money. I can say that for sure because everyone works far more than what they are getting paid for. They are here because they believe in the vision, and the future truly excites them. They wouldn't know about the future unless it is communicated properly.
Doing business in the marketing space has given me a good hold on how to communicate effectively. Being a trainer and a mentor means that I can explain the future vision of our company even better than other founders.
Talking about the vision of the company takes time. And the candidate doesn't get enough from the company's "About Us" page. That's why I recommend building a hiring funnel.
Just like a sales funnel converts cold prospects into warm ones, a hiring funnel converts potential candidates into excited ones who want to join the company to build the vision.
The most important part of the hiring funnel is the drip marketing sequence. It is a series of 12 emails that goes to the candidate after they express interest in joining our company. 3 emails per week for 4 weeks.
Here are some of the topics I cover in my sequence. A lot of the emails link back to this blog as well.
- How we hire (and link to Kamna's hiring story)
- The long term big vision of LearnToday
- What's the one thing we focus on?
- Why do we do what we do? The purpose that drives us.
- Meet the LearnToday team (Talk about each team member)
- Internal growth opportunities at LearnToday
- How we have fun and party at LearnToday
- And so on.
By the time they come for an interview, most of them know about LearnToday, the team, and are looking forward to working with us. We have never had an instance of us making an offer and them rejecting the offer.
Candidates have spent weeks if not months contemplating working with LearnToday even before we talk to them for the first time. This is the power of marketing automation applied for hire.
Most of the questions we ask the candidates revolve around how much they have engaged in our email sequences. Within a few questions, it is clear if the candidate had the patience to read through all our emails or not. If they had read through the emails, then the will is clear.
Most of the startups have a skill/will issue with their team. Some will have the skill, but not the will, some will have the will but not the skill. We measure their will by measuring their engagement in the hiring funnel.
There have been instances where we have been able to check the open rates of emails of the candidates and prioritize our options based on that. This is typical lead scoring applied to hiring. Instead of calculating the chance that we will convert a customer, we are calculating the chance of the candidate being a good hire.
I hope this post gave you some new ideas about how you can approach hiring for your startup/business.
You can tweet out your thoughts by tagging me @highdeepak on Twitter.