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Hiring Playbook for Startups and Tech Cos
Looking to build your team? Following a guided process can make hiring easier. That’s where this hiring playbook comes in! Keep reading for leading practices you should consider when hiring new talent.
1. Prepare to Hire
Planning is always the first step. This involves creating a job description (JD), defining compensation bands, setting a sourcing plan and establishing an overall timeline.
Craft an Effective JD and Target Candidate Profile
Discuss the vision and objectives for the job with the hiring manager, leadership, and recruiting team. Incorporate their feedback, so everyone is clearly aligned on what you’re looking for.
Create a JD that establishes clear responsibilities and gives candidates a snapshot of what’s expected in the role (e.g., key activities, sample projects, success criteria).
Add profile, target background, and years of experience to the job description. Be specific so you can attract the right candidates. Be sure to avoid any language that may be discriminatory or violate any laws or regulations.
Determine Competitive Compensation
Work with HR, recruiting and the leadership team to establish pay bands for the role that align with the organization’s comp structure for level and function.
Remember, top-tier talent will have many job opportunities. It’s important to offer competitive compensation. Validate with trusted third parties (e.g., external recruiting agencies) and other market data (e.g., www.levels.fyi) that the salary being offered is competitive with market rate.
Where does your organization want to fit relative to your competitors?
Be clear on the mix of base bay, performance bonus, and equity. Candidates will have different preferences in terms of the mix of cash vs. equity. Consider different options (e.g., higher cash vs. lower equity and vice versa) to attract candidates with various risk appetites.
Create Sourcing Plans
Establish an overall plan for reaching out to candidates and getting them excited to join your team.
Post on your company’s internal career page and post to trusted third-party job boards such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed. There are endless job boards/sites – do your research and pick the ones where you think your target candidates will look.
Determine if you’ll need the help of external agencies. While they may come with a higher initial cost (relative to internal recruiters), they may help tap into a specialized network, increasing the quality and volume of candidates you’ll be able to attract. If you decide to use, be sure to align on the target profile before kicking off the search (e.g., review sample resumes or LinkedIn profiles).
Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress - e.g., # of candidates reached out to per week, # of first-round interviews. This will help you track progress and determine if you need to make adjustments along the way.
Incorporate diversity and inclusion (D&I) KPIs to make sure you are being inclusive and hiring a diverse workforce for your organization.
Establish an Overall Hiring Timeline
Keep these milestones in mind when creating a hiring timeline:
Recruiting kickoff (i.e., when you start reaching out to candidates)
Interview process: intro chats, second rounds/case, final rounds, offers, start date, etc.
Establish checkpoints along the way, so you can identify bottlenecks and determine if you need to adjust the process - i.e., at what point are we losing candidates?
2. Map out the Interviewing Process
Once you are ready to hire, it’s critical to establish a formal interview process. Here are some key steps to consider.
Key Aspects of the Interview Process
Approximate timeline - e.g., intro chat, second rounds, case interview, final rounds
What’s covered during each interview step
Who's involved and key decision-makers in each step
Scheduling – who’s responsible for internal scheduling and who will confirm with the candidates (may be different people)
Inform candidates on what to expect. Be clear if the interview is a phone call, video call, or in person
Discuss protocols with candidates and internal team
Measure success/objectives during the interview
Create a weekly status update to track progress
Compile feedback from each interviewer after each step
When declining candidates, provide feedback to candidates on time and in a respectful manner
Remember it’s a two-way street - good candidates will have their pick of job opportunities. Focus on building a strong relationship with the candidate throughout the process and convey unique selling points (e.g., culture, growth opportunities, etc.). Catered lunches and unlimited PTO won’t be enough these days.
Deliver the Offer
Create an offer letter and get key stakeholder approval (e.g., CEO, Head of People) for your candidates
Establish protocols for delivering the offer. We recommend a phone call vs. email.
Set a decision timeline for candidates to accept or decline the offer
Close the Deal
Offer your candidates something that other employers are not offering – e.g., more benefits, higher salary, more autonomy, etc.
Welcome candidate / express excitement – key internal stakeholders
Set negotiation plan and levers – e.g., signing bonus, comp. increase
Explain unique selling points to your candidate
Get candidate excited to join your team
3. Prepare for Onboarding
Ok, so the candidate signed, now what? The process doesn’t simply end when a candidate accepts the offer. In today’s competitive job market, do not assume they will just show up on their first day and perform their best. Keep them engaged from the time they accept the offer to the time they arrive.
Here are some helpful tips to follow.
Stay in close contact with the candidate before they join - e.g., weekly check-ins, coffee/drinks. Keep them in the loop on exciting news with your company.
Send them company swag or other welcome gifts.
Set logistics and plan for Day 1 - i.e., where do I show up and what will I be doing?
Prepare an onboarding plan - orientation / training and 30, 60, 90-day objectives and share this with the new hire when they join.
It’s a two-way street: You work for them as much as they work for you. While your relationship may switch from “recruiter” during the recruiting/interview process to “manager,” you’ll need to keep new hires engaged and excited in order to retain them.