5 ways to re-shape your hiring

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5 ways to re-shape your hiring

Like many business leaders you probably see recruitment and hiring as something that simply slows your momentum, and this is often why we default to splashing the cash on recruitment agencies hoping they will relieve that stress and expedite the desired outcome. 

But the truth is that hiring is an integral part of scaling your business which needs to be embraced. In fact, Reid Hoffman (Co-founder and investor in PayPal, LinkedIn, etc) will tell you, “You should ALWAYS BE HIRING, where every conversation with a new person could be the start of a relationship with your next recruit.” 

We’ve done the research and one particular episode of the Masters of Scale podcast stood out. The podcast is a great resource for business leaders that uncovers the winning strategies of successful businesses. Worth checking out, but for now we wanted to draw the key learnings from their episode on hiring, training, and retaining staff to your attention.   

So, how are the likes of Google, Apple, PepsiCo and other revolutionary companies building their businesses through hiring for sustainable and future-proofed growth?  


1. Don’t just focus on people who are looking for jobs now  

We often refer to active and passive job seekers. Pretty clear what these mean but for the avoidance of doubt:  

  • An active job seeker is looking for a job now,  
  • A passive job seeker is not actively researching their next role but is open to opportunities. 

Now, if you’re fishing for your next hire in just that “active” pool of talent, you’re seriously limiting your approachable market, and fighting in a highly competitive arena. Leaders from the world’s  biggest tech companies will tell you, hiring doesn’t mean just advertising jobs, but actually just having conversations with potential recruits.  

Apple CEO, Tim Cook was interested in hiring for a retail director to lead their store operations and identified Angela Ahrendts (of Burberry) as their prime candidate. Now Tim could quite easily have filled this role quickly but he was patient and persistent, and recognized that Angela’s skill was in people, leadership and motivation. This hire took well over a year to happen (closer to two) and what eventually won Angela over was the cultural fit and Tim’s vision.  

This reverses the traditional balance of the employer and candidate relationship, where the employer opens the door and the candidates fight to get in. Tim had to work hard to sell the business to his ideal candidate instead of waiting and hoping someone suitable will pop up.  

These are vital skills to learn in today’s candidate-driven market. Firstly, going off the beaten track and not pitching your hopes on the active candidates. Secondly, being able to sell your business to a candidate that you know will add value to your business.  


2. Hire for Culture  

No, we don’t mean hire your mates. 

A strong company culture is founded on a shared mission that every employee understands, feels like they own, and wants to build.  What candidates want

A strong culture will empower your colleagues and enable them to work at their best. On the podcast, Mark Laurie, founder of Diapers.com (sold to Amazon for $540m) and Jet.com (sold to Walmart for $3.3bn) discusses what he believes are key factors to building and growing a strong culture. 

Mark doesn’t prioritize skills over culture, instead he believes that if you get people who are a strong fit for the organization then they will be smart enough to develop the skills, or better yet hire the people with the skills they need.  

Mark looks for a shared common set of values in trust, kindness and empathy and says you don’t want politics as this will slow you down. You also don’t want egos because they will be motivated by personal reasons above what's best for the company.  


3. Create your own A-Team    

This is something we have the best intentions of doing but rarely follow through: Investing in the learning and development of our teammates and colleagues.  

The idea here is the skills you really need don’t actually exist, especially if you’re building cutting edge tech, so it’s on you to create your own candidates. 

Google credits a large part of its success to the Associate Product Manager Programme. The programme’s founders joined Google as developers but then retrained as product owners. This led them to start the programme which takes on colleagues and trains them to be product managers through an intensive “trial by fire” approach giving them exposure to a variety of different Google products and management styles/formats. And usually, to get that sort of experience you would have to go through a variety of different jobs and companies.  

This helped to develop flexible and dynamic thinkers all highly geared towards being outcome-driven. It is one of the reasons why Google’s most successful products come from ideas conceived from the ground up. Google has grown organically under controlled chaos.  

We have seen this happen in some of Caroo’s larger employers, such as Disney Streaming and The Hut Group. Disney Streaming struggled to find enough software developers with a specific skillset, which meant they had to train their own. The Hut Group is similar in this, building their own lecture theatre where junior developers can get the theory while developing their skills on the job. We’ve also witnessed the growth of coding bootcamps who aim to accelerate the education of people who want to get in to software development providing them with the theory in approximately 12 weeks.  

This point goes hand in hand with hiring for culture. You want to embed a hunger for skills and knowledge within your culture, hire the right people, and give them the tools they need to succeed.  


4. Make your company worth their time  

Gone are the days when you could buy a pool table, bean bags and offer a fruit bowl to make your company appealing.  

To attract and retain good people you need to ensure an environment (and culture) that offers people challenges, autonomy and growth. 

One of the best examples of creating this culture and developing people we read was specifically about Googles 20% free time benefit. Employees are granted 20% of their time (1 day per week) to work on their own ideas and pull together business cases and proof of concepts. If the idea is deemed viable then that product owner is able to pitch for the services of colleagues cross-function to build out the solution. This was how Google came up with one of their most successful services, Gmail. Here Google are trusting employees and empowering them to be autonomous and grow.  


5. Don’t let borders be barriers  

It’s a common debate nowadays (work from home vs. hybrid vs. flexi-time vs. office-based) with many people posting on LinkedIn about their new found love for home-based working, but this is worth your consideration. By ignoring the limitations of geography you open up a much wider and deeper talent pool.  MicrosoftTeams-image (32)

Zappo founder (a BitCoin product) has a fully remote business with directors across three continents. He compares building a business to how a football team acquires its players. If you had £10m to spend and only spent it locally then you would not create a championship-winning team, however if you were to employ people from across the world then you would stand a much better chance of success given you have a much deeper pool of talent.  

The challenge with this approach is that the tools required to build a truly global talent search don’t exist and then of course there are language and cultural barriers. To overcome the latter, Zappos trialed interviewing and recruiting purely by communicating via email and chat, as this is the way that people tend to communicate internally. We found this to be fascinating, the idea that you would only interview people over a chat function.  


Get on the Masters of Scale podcast, 5 surprising ways to re-think your hiring to hear more and don’t forget, ALWAYS BE HIRING.  


Don’t miss out on finding your dream job.

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