Having a recruitment plan that maps out when you need to hire to meet strategic goals is crucial – but straying from that plan when the opportunity arises is just as important. Here’s why and how to go about hiring for opportunity.
This post is part of a series where we’ll take you through what we believe to be the best tips on growing a team. It’s based on experiences from our combined 15 years working with recruitment but most importantly on how we ourselves grew the Valuebeat team from 2 people to 19 people 18 months later.
Check out the other posts in the series:
Our number one priority when setting the initial Valuebeat team was tech. We knew we needed to build a product – and we needed to build it fast. We needed capable, plug-and-play hands on deck that could solve that immediate problem NOW.
But when it came to setting the team as a whole, it was never a matter of hiring for now or even hiring for the next six months.
The logic of a recruitment plan is mapping out strategic goals and what specific hires you need to get you there. We have created plans in terms of which areas of the business we need to grow to get us to our series A and – crucially – what burn rate we can afford.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a startup with little to offer in terms of attraction or any other kind of organisation.
This is an opportunity hire: a candidate that won’t fix predefined tasks and urgent needs, but who is available here and now and will be a valuable asset for the long run.
An opportunity too good to miss.
There are at least two advantages to jumping on an opportunity like that:
Which leads us to our second argument.
At its core, an opportunity hire is a person you take a chance on because you’re hiring for their potential and not your immediate need.
This requires moving from being reactive relying on job postings and sourcing to being proactive and spending time and attention on LinkedIn and other platforms where you can keep track of who’s changing positions. And who all of a sudden will be ready to have that cup of coffee that they otherwise wouldn’t bother.
This gives you the chance to sell your organisation, your mission, and your potential in a much more potent format – a conversation – than you would ever be able to by creating a generic job posting.
The straight-up pitfall of hiring for opportunity, potential, and future needs is that your new employee most likely won’t be able to work on what they consider to be their expertise right away.
This is something you need to be very honest about. (Along with most other things, we’d argue.)
This also implies being very straight-up with yourself regarding whether this candidate will in fact be able to thrive on what you have to offer right now. From a recruitment point of view, having T-shaped skills – being both a generalist and having a specific area of expertise – makes it easier to be creative with bridging the gap until they can live up to their full potential.
Ideally, this is what motivates them and will keep them motivated.
We will be sharing more advice on recruitment tactics such as the pros and cons of hiring through your personal network, using traditional sourcing, etc. in this series of posts on recruitment tips. Stay tuned! And check out the other posts in the series:
Our basic principles for recruiting.
How to attract talent when you’re a startup with nothing to offer
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