This sponsored post is produced by Stubhub.
Anyone who manages at a startup or tech company knows how difficult it is to hire the right talent. From Silicon Valley to Austin, Boston to New York, competition has made this task even more difficult. It takes longer to find great talent, and the need to fill jobs in the midst of shorter development cycles is even more urgent now that technologies and skills can be outdated overnight. Many leaders are spending more time hiring and interviewing instead of working to retain the great people they already have. Adding to this challenge is the fact that employees change their jobs more often than they did a decade ago, resulting in a perfect storm for hiring managers.
However, even in this competitive market, there are successful tactics to help ensure you’re hiring the right types of people — and keeping them. At StubHub, we have adapted and evolved these best practices over the years to help us avoid pitfalls and hire skilled candidates with speed.
1. Put your best people on the job
Put your best people on recruiting duty. Employees who are the most passionate about your company — from its mission and vision to its people — will tell the best stories and be best equipped to assess what a star player looks like. “Like attracts like,” as the saying goes, and wooing new candidates is no exception. Your strongest team members will often be the ones who draw in talent who can become employees with the best potential. After meeting with them, candidates should feel positively challenged, excited, and energized.
2. Prepare a recruiting panel
It’s important to put a pre-screening process in place, but once candidates have been vetted initially, a small panel with a few decision makers will often yield the quickest outcome. Carefully define the areas that need to be covered by each panel member, so that they can test all necessary skills and company fit. This will also help the panelist be efficient with their time, as interviewing Candidate Number 10 for the same job position can get tiresome. Notably, one of the most important parts of this process occurs after the candidate leaves the room, which is the best time to capture real-time feedback on the candidate.
3. Stay connected
Throughout the recruiting process, your hiring managers must be constantly engaging with candidates and offering a personal touch: meeting them in person, addressing any concerns they have along the way, and following up to ask them for feedback about the process. At StubHub, we’ve found that one of our key differentiators is the amount of time and care that our recruiters put into each lead. We have heard from candidates that they appreciate the personal connection, and it is something we feel strongly about maintaining in every interaction, even up through the closing process.
4. Be authentic and honest
As with any sales process, it’s tempting to paint a brighter picture than reality provides. Yet the most important thing you can do, for both your internal team and future employees, is commit to being honest. Candidates should walk away from an interview not only with a clear understanding of the company’s mission, but also with the knowledge of how they would fit into the bigger picture when it comes to business goals and company priorities. Candidates will appreciate knowing all of the pros and cons before they commit, so that they can make the most informed decision possible and be satisfied with their choice.
5. Tap into your network for reference checking
Most strong candidates vet their potential references to make sure they are likely to give positive feedback. To make sure you have the full picture, tap into your network to do some delicate back-door reference checking in addition to the references supplied. Reaching out to the candidate’s peers, direct reports, or bosses can give you a better understanding of their fit for the position. This is especially important when hiring for senior or management roles, as a wrong decision is more costly for the company and the employees than a delay in hiring.
6. Invest in a strong pipeline for the future
Your best source of referrals is through your current employees, as word-of-mouth or social feedback could attract their friends and former colleagues to your company. Internships and college programs can also serve as long-term sources of recruitment. Often, creating impactful experiences for interns can fall by the wayside, but it’s important to remember that interns are often the best candidates when openings become available. At StubHub, we try to not only provide our interns with a great summer experience, but also allow them to work on real problems that StubHub is trying to solve in the next few months. Many of the projects and prototypes that our interns have built are innovations that are needed for our fans and our sellers.
With the need for technologically savvy employees growing at such a high rate, recruiters and hiring managers have their work cut out for them. While there will never be a magic bullet in hiring, these guidelines can help to make a big difference in building out your team to be the best it can be.
Raji Arasu is CTO at StubHub.
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