Let’s talk about how to recruit great people to your team. One of the key realities to building up any type of company is that you can only go so far on your own.
It doesn’t matter how good you are individually. You might think you’re a really great individual contributor, but when you don’t have a team around you, or you’re not open to sharing information with people and bringing great people on board, you’re not going to be able to grow. Every step up is going to be a burden.
This might seem obvious to some people who have successful businesses already, but it’s less obvious to freelancers and small business owners who are just starting out. I used to think that because I was a really good individual contributor, I could hack it on my own, and that the quality of my team wasn’t as important (I know, crazy, right?).
There’s this book called Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan that everyone should read. Basically, it talks about how there’s five different stages to companies.
At the third level, individuals are thinking they’re really good because they’re tasting success. At the fourth level, the whole company thinks they’re good. That’s a really good confidence level to be at. And at the fifth level, we’re talking about world changing stuff like NASA, for example, where you’re coming together to find a deeper, more impactful purpose.
How to Find Exceptional Talent
The billion-dollar question is: Where do you go find great people?
For me, it’s always been really good referrals, just asking people if they know anybody. But you can’t really rely on referrals all the time. You have to have a reliable, inbound way of bringing in high-quality applicants, too.
We use a tool called Workable, which allows us to post jobs efficiently. From there, we can qualify people. I can add multiple users, and I can move applicants to different phases. If they pass the phases, we move them to a final screening.
After that we’ll move them to a tool called Spark Hire. Spark Hire will run them through a video interview process. This is excellent for lower level to mid-senior level hires.
For right-hand-man-level hires who can really take on lots of different projects, help with IT, help with recruiting, and help with the financials for the company, there are multiple interview processes. You might run them through a test for a week or two. In this case it might be for an entire month and you might want to consider paying them for their time.
I remember reading about how Uber’s CTO was interviewed for 30 hours by Travis, the CEO. They were having a conversation the whole time and they knew this was kind of a big deal, so that’s what it took.
You have to do a lot of reference checking, too. Extreme reference checking. You have to ask the references for additional references when you’re looking to make this kind of hire.
Ask for Help with Hires
Don’t be afraid to blast your email list and ask for referrals. We found some good people from our email list just by saying we’re looking for very specific talent. Often, it’s the subscribers that follow your stuff who are also your biggest advocates.
We often build a custom audience of people who have visited our jobs page and we re-target the ones that come back. Maybe the people who came in the last 30-60 days or so. Maybe you spend five dollars a day. It’s much better than spending $500 bucks for a random job post on some random job board like Monster.
I’m not saying the job boards don’t help. LinkedIn certainly does. We’ll buy those postings in bulk, like 10 in one year. That way we save some money, because recruiting can become very expensive very quickly.
One of our current clients right now is called Lever. One of their competitors is called Greenhouse. You can check out those two companies if you have some money to spend on recruiting tools and services. I think it’s a couple thousand per month.
What a Leader’s Role Is
Once you surpass a million dollars per year in revenue, your job as the leader of the company is to keep looking for the best recruits. It’s all about building a brilliant team around you.
Keep in mind that recruiting is both an art and a science. You’re never going to bat 100%. You’re going to miss and, yes, it’s going to cost you. In some cases, you might reassign somebody you just hired. In some cases you might have to let them go.
Related Content: How to Onboard New Hires
Whatever the case, keep in mind that you have to have a good process first. If all of a sudden you have to let go of a bunch of people at the same time, you’re going to lose a lot of confidence in your team, and vice versa.
When you’re the leader, people do look at you differently. You’re not an individual contributor anymore and you can kind of hide in the weeds. You have to take that into account, too. How you behave really affects the company. It’s why Glassdoor has a specific metric for CEO approval rating.
The people on your team are going to mimic your behavior, so it’s really on you as the leader to make the right decisions, make them quickly, and constantly iterate on the company and on your own role as the CEO.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post: