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Updated 29 Sep 2020

10 Hacks to hire your next best talent

When scaling up your business, hiring the right people becomes more crucial than ever. But it isn’t easy. Here are ten hacks for recruiting people who can grow with your company. 

GG van Rooyen, Entrepreneur, 07 December 2016  Share  0 comments  Print

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  • Player: Monique Chaitezvi
  • Company: 10X-e
  • Founded: 2015
  • Background: 10X-e was created by Vumela and Edge Growth. Its aim is to help talented entrepreneurs succeed by offering a high-growth support system.
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One of the biggest challenges associated with scaling a business quickly is the hiring of new talent. Fast-growing businesses need highly-competent people who can grow with the business, but getting hold of these people isn’t easy. Statistically, only about 25% of hires work out, and the cost and impact of this can be catastrophic.

“When scaling your business quickly, you can’t afford to get a key hire wrong. Hire the wrong person, and your growth plans can be put back by a year or two,” says Monique Chaitezvi of 10X-e. “Research has shown us that hiring the wrong person can end up costing companies anywhere between four and 27 times the cost of an annual salary in wasted training, lost productivity, and so on.”

Related: Personal branding: Benefits for both you and your leaders

Here, according to 10X-e, are ten ways to improve your odds when hiring for growth.

1. Hire people you know and trust

“A good way to improve the odds of hiring the right person is to hire someone you know,” says Chaitezvi. “This means hiring people you’ve worked with personally, or people your best colleagues have worked with and can vouch for.”

Focus on organisations that you respect and know would be a source of excellent talent. Just consider, for example, how quickly companies in the US tend to hire engineers who have worked for Google.

2. Invest in talent

Talent isn’t cheap. As a scale-up you are competing for top talent with prestigious corporate organisations that can offer great salaries and excellent benefits.

“At 10X-e we advise companies to provide a value proposition aimed at potential employees that is just as great as that offered to customers. Scaling talent is as much a marketplace activity as scaling sales,” says Chaitezvi.

3. Treat every meeting like a recruitment meeting

Pay close attention when an employee from a supplier, customer or bank really impresses you. Could they be a good fit for your company? “Always be on the lookout for high performers who want to work for you one day,” says Chaitezvi.

“It’s not just about hiring somebody right now, but creating a ‘warm bench’ of prospective talent. Always keep an eye out for great employees.”

4. Screen interviewees over the phone

10X-e -monique

It’s a good idea to start any interview process with a five or ten-minute screening call. More often than not, a quick call can save you hours of interviews. It’s also a good idea to phone references to find out if the person will be a good fit for your organisation.

5. Find great recruiters

Recruiters can be an excellent source of good talent, provided they understand your company and aren’t incentivised to place as many people as quickly as possible. Sadly, only a tiny proportion of recruiters are really partners in building an A-team. Find them, and build lasting partnerships with them.

“There are recruiters who are driven by quality,” says Chaitezvi. “Find them and work with them. Identify the roles they are best at filling and focus on those areas.”

Related: 5 Essential management tips from Peter Drucker

6. Sample the goods

“Great interviewees are not necessarily great employees. In fact, interview performance isn’t a reliable predictor of job performance at all,” says Chaitezvi. “At 10X-e we often warn that hiring someone too soon is like getting married after the second date.”

But what is the alternative? 10X-e suggests internships or contract work. By commissioning someone to do some work for you before you hire them full-time, you’ll get a far better idea of their competence than you would from an interview or two. If this isn’t an option, work-sample interviews at the very least are a must.

7. Look for the achiever pattern

Of course, a scorecard on its own is not enough. Great employees have a certain X-factor that you should look out for. They are ambitious and goal-oriented, and they are self-aware — they know what their strengths and weaknesses are. Their employment history will also reveal their ‘high-achiever’ tendencies. They’ll boast an impressive list of tough positions, glowing recommendations and accolades.

8. Use a scorecard

Shopping when hungry is a great way to buy way more than you actually need. Similarly, an interview process can lead you astray by convincing you to hire someone you don’t actually need. Even great potential employees should be turned down if they don’t tick all of your boxes.

10X-e suggests a role scorecard to keep you focused on what you need. This way you won’t be charmed into making a wrong decision, but will be on the lookout for the skills you need.

You also want to try and take urgency off the table as much as possible. When you’re in desperate need of workers, the temptation is to hire whoever you can get your hands on right now. Make a conscious decision to not hire for the sake of hiring.

9. Use chronological and structured interviews

“The top two predictive processes for interviewing strangers are structured interviews and psychometric tests. Use both, together. In particular, do chronological career review interviews to unpack their role, achievements, failings, and boss ratings for each role. Build a complete picture of the person and probe for a balanced view of strengths and weaknesses,” says Chaitezvi.

10. Institutionalise your process

You can only be personally involved in every hire for so long. So, as you scale, start institutionalising good hiring. Make it an integral part of management competency. Managers need to be scored on hiring success, and also trained in hiring.

Remember this

Hiring effectively while scaling is crucial. A bad hire can set back your scaling goals significantly.

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About the author

GG van Rooyen, Entrepreneur

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