Challenge: Hiring! How to find the right people
Joe: I have a bar to which people I’ve been working with uphold themselves to and it’s difficult to find people like that.
Antoine: I try and have as many coffees as I can and while I do that, I keep in mind the question, “will I hire this person?” and keep the engagement going. That way, when I need to hire someone, I find that I have a couple of potential candidates in my pocket.
Dave: What seniority level are we talking about here though? Because that will mean a difference in approach.
Joe: We also talk about nurturing our leads, but very often we don’t really nurture…
Antoine: Nurture our talents!
Joe: I typically don’t do resumes. I have this system whereby I ask my candidates to share with me three things I’m terrible at and what can I do about it. So far I’ve gotten really good and reliable people from this litmus test.
Mandy: So who will you pick if presented with someone who’s reliable but with not as much talent, or someone who’s talented but doesn’t really meet deadlines?
Joe: Probably the reliable person who’s not as talented.
Antoine: You can teach skills but you can’t teach attitude.
Gerry: With limited budget for hiring, I work mostly with freelancers – I have a reliable pool which I rotate around for different projects. My peers who run their own digital marketing agencies also found that a model which works for them is to engage people who attend their training programmes. That way your approach towards marketing/doing things is already aligned and you also have an idea of their capabilities.
Antoine: We also adopt that approach, which has been working pretty well for us so far. We currently train interns and nurture them into editors.
Joe: Most of my team are spread around the world… But it also depends on your business model. For those who need talents on the ground, the going-through-training approach is rather good.
Theodoric: Entrepreneur First was hiring rapidly because we scaled quite a bit. We saw that there were different practices in different locations. For example, we first experimented with having each team manager in each market do their own sourcing and hiring. That didn’t really work out, especially in London. So what we did in Singapore was that we hired an intern, briefed the intern on what we’re looking for and then the leads get brought in. So we avoid having the hiring manager do it. This cuts down the inefficiency of sourcing. Also, for more senior roles, we’ll need to reach out to them, sell our brand and what we do.
Antoine: LinkedIn also has this amazing tool for sourcing but it’s way too expensive for us to afford. My best hires have been through referrals.
Joe: Referrals always work better.
Theodoric: Well, it’s kind of the same as users. Those acquired by word of mouth usually retain better.
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