Human Resources Today

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recruit

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Should I Leave My Job?

A few weeks ago, we talked about a better way to quit your job when you just can’t handle it, rather than making a scene or spectacle. Spectacles aside, what if the reason you leave isn’t necessarily because you can’t stand your current job? As I dig into my first few weeks at exaqueo, I can’t help but reflect on how I arrived here and share the knowledge I gained through my most recent job switch, and the question I asked myself: "Should I leave my job?"

I left my last few jobs for amazing opportunities, all in line with my personal goals. It was heart wrenching to go into the offices of those who mentored me…gave me every opportunity to learn and grow…and explain to them that I was leaving. I’ll never forget what the President of one of my former companies asked me after I shared with him that I was leaving to pursue a new opportunity – “is this something you are walking towards or walking away from?”

What an interesting question. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Of course, from his perspective, if this was a job I was walking away from, he wanted to know why, and if there was anything he could have done better to keep me there. I was lucky to have an employer who cared enough to ask. It takes a strong leader to put himself in this vulnerable position and be open to criticism of a company he built.

This question has a lot of power.

Marketers constantly try to get into the heads of their customers. Employers should be doing the same, and get into the heads of their employees. With employee engagement at an all time low (according to Gallup), this question should be something leaders and managers ask themselves from the perspective of their employees, well before they are faced with someone leaving. Is there anything about my company - or the way that I manage - that may cause a high performer to walk away and is within my control? Are there consistencies among staff sentiment around our culture that may have a negative impact that I can get ahead of?

Anticipating these needs is important since we all know it’s extremely expensive to ignore them (according to Fast Company, roughly $370 Billion to be exact). This is especially important in startup and high-growth companies where the business is always evolving.

Sometimes people leave because it’s just not a good fit, and that’s valuable information to know from an employer perspective, so the next new hire IS a good fit. And sometimes, an employee leaves because of an amazing opportunity, and there’s nothing you could have done. If you have to lose employees, those are the kinds you want to lose.

As for me, joining exaqueo was something I walked (leaped!) towards. I’m very excited to join the team and contribute to this growing, inspiring company.

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Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

 

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How to Hire for a Startup

How to Hire for a StartupIt's a pivotal moment, really. The point when you finally hit the magic budget number and you can add to your startup team. But chances are you have no idea how to hire. No offense, but it's true. Sure, you've worked in companies before and added to your team. You've interviewed before. How hard can it be? Talent is one of the biggest challenges in startups -- and most of us know how much it matters but we don't make any effort to learn how to hire for a startup.

Hiring can be one of the most important -- and oft overlooked parts -- of any startup or high-growth business. It seems easy: write a job description, post it and wait for the masses to apply. Interviews are just conversations and offers are easy. Who wouldn't want to work for you?  But, there's so much more to it, and as a leader, it's your duty to know the major aspects of your business -- especially before you're able to hire all of the experts in sales, marketing, finance, product development, engineering, etc. You may still be doing some of that on your own.

And recruiting? Well, sure, you can farm it out to an agency. But if talent is one of the most important ingredients to your growth, don't you want to own the process (and save money)?

Here's how to hire for a startup:

Know the Legal Basics

It's really important to know what laws apply to you before hiring. There are federal and state laws (depending on where your company is based), laws that apply to companies based on size and those that apply to companies with federal contracts.

You also can't discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Some states also laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.  A basic legal immersion for you and your leadership team can help to minimize risk.

Understand Your Finances

Can you afford that next hire or hires? You don't know until you really run the numbers.

You need to have a good sense of fair market value for compensation (see the "Know the Numbers" section in this post I wrote for The Daily Muse), and then add 20%. You're not paying them more, but an employee typically costs about 20% more than their salary once you factor in additional costs, such as benefits, taxes and insurance.

Budget first before jumping to post that job description.

Be Clear About Roles

Speaking of job descriptions, you may be eager to share how cool your startup is, and how much fun the team has together. That's all good, but what really matters is the jobs themselves.

Candidates want to know what they'll be doing and what a typical day might look like.  You don't have to describe every specific task but even if the role has some ambiguity, spell out major responsibilities so expectations are clear. The best job descriptions include responsibilities, behaviors (how the successful candidate might behave or handle certain situations), what the company culture is like (strengths and weaknesses), and future prospects for both the position and the company.

It may be tempting to get cheeky or creative, but don't do it at the expense of the job itself. Otherwise you'll be wading through hundreds of resumes attracted to the cheeky instead of the work -- many of whom won't be qualified.

Create a Defined Hiring Process

What are the steps in your hiring process? It's important to be clear, define each step and the desired outcome. If you're doing phone screens, what are you hoping to learn in order to determine who moves forward?

Don't let interviewers ask whatever they want either. Have a set of questions that clearly gets at the job itself -- both skills (Do candidates have the level of programming proficiency they claim?) and behaviors (When a crisis happens the day before a major launch, how would they handle it?).

It's important to ensure that you never ask any questions that address:  arrest records, garnishment records, marital status, child-care provisions, pregnancy or plans for future childbearing, physical or mental disabilities, age, nationality, race or ancestry.

And ask similar questions of all candidates so you can compare them fairly.

Create Clear Rules for Selection

I once had a startup leader tell me she hires with her gut. Don't do that, ever. It's risky, unfair and leads to bad-fit decisions.

Instead, have a defined set of criteria to determine who moves forward in the hiring process and why. Compare candidates to that set of criteria rather than to each other. Who's the better fit?

And if you're doing background or reference checks as part of the hiring process, make sure you get permission from the candidates to do so.

Ask for Help, But Don't Pass Off Responsibility

You've got an accountant to do your taxes, programmers to make sure your product launches successfully and a sales manager to drive revenue. Why are you trying to create a recruiting strategy alone?

It's not to say you can't recruit yourself -- you CAN. But get some guidance and advice to create a hiring process that works for your business and your market.

On the flip side, don't just hand off the process to an outside agency. This is YOUR company. You have to have a vested interest in the process and a long-term stake in the game. Agencies can be expensive, and it's hard for them to really get to know your business.

Want more help and guidance on this topic or a list of laws to consider? Contact us and we're happy to help.

exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

 

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Perfect Credentials Tell You Nothing

When I was getting my MBA at Vanderbilt, a classmate applied for a marketing job at Gap, Inc. He didn't hear back so he sought out a connection through a friend--someone who help a senior marketing position there. Her reply? "So sorry, I can't help. We don't recruit at Vanderbilt. It's not a top ten school. This kind of behavior makes me sad. Not because it's unfair, or because our school wasn't seen as good enough. Really because it's an elementary way to approach recruiting. And I'm sad that major companies still don't get it. Conventional wisdom says credentials matter.  Over on HRExaminer this week, I say they don't. Read why.

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Perfect Credentials Tell You Nothing

When I was getting my MBA at Vanderbilt, a classmate applied for a marketing job at Gap, Inc. He didn't hear back so he sought out a connection through a friend--someone who help a senior marketing position there. Her reply? "So sorry, I can't help. We don't recruit at Vanderbilt. It's not a top ten school. This kind of behavior makes me sad. Not because it's unfair, or because our school wasn't seen as good enough. Really because it's an elementary way to approach recruiting. And I'm sad that major companies still don't get it. Conventional wisdom says credentials matter.  Over on HRExaminer this week, I say they don't. Read why.

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Perfect Credentials Tell You Nothing

When I was getting my MBA at Vanderbilt, a classmate applied for a marketing job at Gap, Inc. He didn't hear back so he sought out a connection through a friend--someone who help a senior marketing position there. Her reply? "So sorry, I can't help. We don't recruit at Vanderbilt. It's not a top ten school. This kind of behavior makes me sad. Not because it's unfair, or because our school wasn't seen as good enough. Really because it's an elementary way to approach recruiting. And I'm sad that major companies still don't get it. Conventional wisdom says credentials matter.  Over on HRExaminer this week, I say they don't. Read why.

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