03.20.2019

Insights from Recruiting & Culture Panel: Building a Startup Team

by Dan Capawana

Last week, Resound sponsored a Stacklist event, Recruiting & Culture: Building a Startup Team, with panel members from CultureIQ, Betterment, Movable Ink, and Greenhouse. Here are some of the key takeaways from the event that you can use to build your next dream team:

Ask for actual customer anecdotes in the interview process. Always ask potential candidates for specifics that are geared towards the role for which you’re hiring. For instance, request actual anecdotes of how they helped a customer in a specific situation – and when they give one, ask for more. The majority of interviewees are prepared with at least one answer to your question, but candidates who are truly capable to handle the position will have a multitude of examples.

Leverage a take home assignment. Recruiting and hiring takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. The cost of a bad hire is astronomical, so giving candidates homework can be a good way to find out who is truly hungry to work for your company. Did they go the extra mile and complete the assignment using your company’s font and style guide colors? Did they clearly put it together in ten minutes? This is a good way to filter out the best employees for a certain role.

Early hires set the tone for your company’s future. Many startup founders overlook this, but your people define your company’s culture from the very first day they walk in the door. It is essential to drill down to the competencies or values that embody your business. Are you looking for someone who is resourceful? Resilient? Passionate? Creative? Define the top three qualities you are looking for and determine how each candidate measures up.

Ask yourself how your organization may look different in three and six months from now, with this particular employee. It can be easy to hire someone who seems to be the “smartest” or most versatile, but it’s important to understand what you need to hire for and the space you’re trying to fill. How will your company change over the next few months, and beyond? Can this person fit the bill both now and in the future? Look at their potential impact on not only the workload but also your company’s current and future culture, and identify whether or not there may be some red flags.

Once they’re onboard, show new employees the value of working here. Give all new employees 30, 60, and 90 day check-ins to ensure they’re tracking towards where they need to be. By the 90 day point, you can tell if this person is going to be successful in their role. Enroll them in mentor programs and culture clubs for career growth, bring them out to a paid for lunch, invite them to company events, and show them the potential for career growth. Keep folks excited and engaged, and let them see that working with your company will give them the skills to succeed not only in this business, but are transferable as well.

Building a strong team in your early days is one of the most important aspects of growing a company. We found these insights really compelling – and so did the room of standing-room only attendees! It’s just the type of input the media is looking for as they build content to help companies grow their businesses with the right hires. Special thanks to the great panel of experts: Debra Hreczuck at CultureIQ, Cheryl Roubian at Greenhouse, Lucy Babbage at Betterment, and Sonia Mammen at Movable Ink; and to Stacklist for putting on such a great event.

You can also read our latest blog post on how to effectively leverage PR to stay agile in this industry and check out an overview of our services here.

To discuss how our team can make some noise for your HR, recruiting, or workplace brand, please e-mail Julia@resoundmarketing.com.