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Nine Ways to Recruit for Scale-ups

You’ve got to move fast when you’re entrepreneurial.

Last week one of our clients called with the great news they’d secured their first round of funding and had to scale-up quickly. “We need a product manager, like, tomorrow,” they told us.


We were up for the challenge. By drilling down on their requirements and then using our database and network we identified five candidates. Within two days they interviewed and the offer was made that week.

If only the candidate hadn’t had to serve their month’s notice….

When your company is growing rapidly, expanding your team is going to be your biggest challenge, so here are nine of our best tips:

1: Use contractors. When you need to hire fast you can often impact the quality, so scale-up using contractors and then switch to permanent staff once the team is delivering.

2: Go off-the-record. Speak to previous line managers obviously, but use your network and speak to the people who worked alongside them too to get thorough references.

3: Don’t get hung up on qualifications. Generally our clients only request a certain level of educational achievement for junior roles – attitude and experience are much more important.

4: Get specific. Rather than asking hypothetical “what would you do?” questions in interviews, demand real-life examples with clear results.

5: Be informed. Yours isn’t the only opportunity out there, especially in digital. Make sure your job role is appealing given the market conditions.

6: Be slick. Some companies will do several rounds of interviews and then take ages to get sign-off on salaries. You’ll have a real competitive advantage if you have your ducks in a row ahead of time.

7: Look for ‘T-shaped’ candidates. When companies are expanding rapidly, job roles aren’t always clearly defined. You need someone with a dynamic personality who doesn’t mind working without a process and helping out in whichever area is necessary.

8: Offer incentives. The salary can be incidental to the potential so offer shares (0.25-0.5% of the starting salary). This can not only make up for the fact money is tight for you – it ensures candidates  believe in the product and have a passion for the job.

9: Attitude. They may have all the skills you require but if they don’t have the right mindset to fit in your company they are only going to inhibit your growth.

That’s only nine of our tricks of the trade – what else would you suggest?

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