Pulling Your Hair Out? Check these guided options first.
You’ve done it! You’re a company that’s finally secured your business investment. You’re ready to unlock your next phase of growth. If you’re anything like other scale-ups we’ve worked with, your focus will now likely include the holy trinity of product development, sales, marketing and recruitment.
Whatever your key priorities, you’re going to need to have the right people on the bus.
On the face of it, your options seem somewhat limited or vague. They probably involve paying expensive placement fees. So what’s on offer? To date, you’ve likely relied on your own network, recruiting some members of the team yourself and asking people you know – peers, mentors, existing team members – for recommendations (we know a founder who hired a future customer-success star after she’d provided great service at a petrol station!).
You’ve likely had some wins (but also some challenges) working with agencies and maybe used a head-hunter for the odd senior hire.
With the scale, range and pace of hires you need now, what are your options?
Option 1: DIY
AKA: The In-House Default
PROS: You might take a step-on from doing this personally. Hiring a Head of People or Recruitment Manager can be an economical route.
CONS: In those three-six months post investment there’s too much to do and too much time pressure for one person (or even a small in-house team) to deliver. It’s especially true in today’s market: simply posting adverts won’t work. You’ll have do a lot of ‘courting’ of the right talent, with a clear message on why your business is right for them.
NB: Don’t forget to take account of your own time spent managing the process.
In Summary: DIY seems the most straightforward option in cost and simplicity but beware the pressure it puts on you. Your leadership team and in-house team will be swamped with requests.
Option 2: Recruitment Agency
AKA: The Off-The-Peg Outsource
PROS: You’ll discover varying agencies to work with depending on their specialisms eg. digital marketing vs software developers, making you rigorously clear internally about your short- to mid-term requirements.
CONS: You’ll need to build and maintain several relationships, which can be time-consuming. It’ll also inevitably draw out the hiring process.
NB: Just because an agency is ‘specialist’ in a field, it doesn’t mean those candidates are available when you’re recruiting or that they’re a good culture match. Culture and values trump skill set every time.
In Summary: Agencies are definitely an option but there’ll be a lot of time spent managing and briefing them. Their drivers are on placement fees; they’ll get bored if the role proves harder to fill than expected.
Option 3: Executive Search / Headhunting
AKA: The Specialist Hire-By-Hire
PROS: This approach was traditionally used by larger corporates for their C-suite. More recently it’s used by smaller companies, so it can feel like an upgrade.
CONS: However, this can be a costly approach and again, it will mean you have to manage multiple relationships.
NB: In today’s market, all recruiters should be using search techniques in their process. Posting ads alone won’t cut it. Candidates want to be courted and are more clear than ever about what they look for from a company of choice – and believe me, there’s lots of choice in the market for good candidates at the moment.
In Summary: Choosing an executive search partner for more senior hires is a good option but if you could find a partner that uses this approach combined with other techniques, you cover all bases.
Option 4: The Talent Acquisition partner
AKA: The Dream One-Stop Shop
PROS: A personalised service that’ll oversee your entire company structure. We strategize with you and together we create the most robust structure possible for now and to take you forward as you grow at pace. Then we get hiring using our myriad of contacts, tools and techniques and decade-long expertise.
You won’t have to wrangle lots of recruitment processes (whether in-house or farmed out, this is always tough to stay on top of). We’ll develop them and embed them into your process for you. Standard commercial terms don’t align agents’ motivations with your goals.
CONS: This approach succeeds if our values are aligned – and that means we have a ‘people first’ mentality. Our razor-sharp focus is on recruiting and building processes that only focus on getting the right people on the bus. If you as a company or you as a recruit aren’t quite right, we’ll say: “Thanks” and “Goodbye”. It’s not personal and it means no-one has had their time wasted.
NB: We exist to take ownership of recruitment, and we know we’ve done a good job when we’ve left you ready to take it on yourself, with the most effective people, recruitment processes and tools you need.
In Summary: I set up Talent Gateway because I saw that ‘normal’ recruitment providers aren’t fit for the unique needs of high growth companies during the post-investment ‘spike’ in hiring requirements. We understand how your hires underpin the next phase of growth.
You’ve come so far on this difficult journey – now the real work begins! Whichever route you take, all the very best of luck to you.