We Only Want A-Players – But Do They Want Us? – Five Strategies

Situation: An early stage company will staff-up over the next year. In the past the CEO has recruited individuals with big company experience and solid resumes, only to find that they had difficulty transitioning to the hands-on responsibility of a small company. How do you find candidates who are highly experienced but who can also excel in a small company environment?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The best candidates are not in the job-search pool. They are currently working but open to a change. Some will wish to return to a more hands-on situation.
  • Let people know that you are looking for “the best” and have a great opportunity. Create some buzz.
    • Go to your network ask “who do you know?” Don’t be shy!
  • Look for achievers – with proven performance in companies of the size that you plan to be in 12-18 months. Check their references carefully.
  • What can we do now, while we seek the right people?
    • Use contractors and consultants. These people are more entrepreneurial, self-starting, and self-accountable. Monitor their work. If they are good, add them to your team as permanent employees.
    • Develop a milestone-based personnel plan as part of your business plan:
      • When we hit Milestone A, we will need an operations manager.
      • When we hit Milestone B, we will need channel or market development expertise.
    • Conduct case studies of how other companies in your or similar spaces have facilitated their scale-ups. What worked? What didn’t? Why?

Key Words: Candidates, Recruiting, Fit, Culture, Start-up, Achievers, Performance 

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