• July 17, 2016

A Hiring Need Checklist for Startups

A Hiring Need Checklist for Startups

This article originally appeared on BostInno and was contributed to VentureApp by Charley Polachi. Charley is a partner at Polachi Access Executive Search, a retained executive search firm providing services to technology, clean tech, private equity and venture capital clients and specializes in recruiting CEO, GM and VP level executives. 

There are nine essential elements that comprise the recruiting process at all organizational levels.  My area of expertise is the most high stakes level – finding, recruiting, and onboarding the C-level executive. The first and most critical item is to “define and refine the need.” Successful completion of the first step drives the balance of the entire recruiting process.

The CEO or hiring manager must accurately assess, identify and communicate “why are we hiring?”

It’s a simple question without a simple answer, and I coax my clients to do a deep dive and honestly identify the business reason for the hiring requisition.

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Identify the mission critical need to hire and follow through with this checklist:

  • Is the opening to replace an under performer or to backfill from internal promotion?
  • Is the new hire requisition in anticipation of growth, a new product, or service launch?
  • How much direct industry experience is critical for success in this role?
  • Is the best candidate fit related to a comparable platform size, customer base, or client size?
  • Is there a preference from the hiring culture to target candidates in a turnaround or startup environment?
  • Have you accurately and recently benchmarked the job for pay in your geographic area?
  • Fully disclose all incentive compensation (i.e. stock options, and competitive benefits).
  • Are management/supervisory skills more or less important than technical or individual contributor skills?
  • If management is critical to the role, define minimum headcount supervision that is relevant to this position.
  • Identify all resources that will be available to support the new candidate.
  • Accurately identify the budget that is available to the new hire to manage the function.

Perhaps my points seem obvious and routine, but during my tenure in recruiting, many brilliant business people skip steps or just don’t really define the reason for hire or don’t take the time to accurately refine the answers on any checklist.   After all, most savvy business people understand they can’t simply wake up and increase sales by adding a new face to the company. Hiring takes time, direction, and hard work.

As an executive recruiter, it is my mission to fill openings with the best candidates possible. However, my ability to find and deliver that top candidate is directly linked to the hiring firm’s accurate assessment of all characteristics and qualifications that are critical to the new role and authentic reflection on the driving factors to create or fill the position.

Certainly once the need is identified and the checklist is tackled, the active recruiting mode quickly shifts in a highly effective gear and gains momentum. As the recruiting journey unfolds, I provide navigating tips that lead to exceptional candidates.

How does a business best prepare for an effective discussion with an executive recruiter? Create a “first year charter.”

First Year Charter:

A first year charter sets realistic goals and expectations for the new hire. Consider what business accomplishments will result in a favorable review one year out. Is the goal to increase revenue by 20%?  Drive work culture and team building?

The first year charter will accomplish two tasks: it identifies the expected impact from the new hire from the starting gate and provides a lens for long term success benchmarking.

The next logical step after defining the need and refining the checklist is to accurately assess your workplace culture to further shape the best candidate pool.

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