Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Recruit, Recruit, Recruit: Keeping a List of Prospective Startup Team Members
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Recruit, Recruit, Recruit: Keeping a List of Prospective Startup Team Members

As a startup founder, you're inundated with stuff to do. If it's not worrying about investors, it's where the next dollar will come from, to things breaking in production or worrying about how to settle team members as they face the uphill climb.

Diane of Jibao at our recent weekend recruiting event.
In this blog, we've talked about not lurching from one idea to another, as well as finding your North Star, but one important thing to do, especially in this day and age of talent shortage and team capability challenges, is to always and continually be recruiting. As a leader, you want to keep up your network of contacts and maintain a stack of resumes of potential hires.

This seems like another big chore, but it's necessary, and potentially not as onerous as you may expect. Now, the advice isn't to drop everything that you're doing and begin running a ton of searches for potential team members, but it's more of adding the resume gathering and recruiting process as an element in your daily routine.

We all know that once the decision is made to hire someone for an identified open position the merely act of getting the word out and cast the net to get interviewees into the office is a 2-3 month process. That 2-3 months for most startups is a lifetime and often includes a pivot already. If you continually maintain a list of strong and prospective candidates for future open decisions, you'd be able to short cut this time, and go straight to bringing folks into the office for formal interviews.

The Jibao team at a recent job fair. Left to right: Hannah, interested candidate, Diane and Chloe of Jibao.
It starts with simple tasks such as picking up the phone and contacting someone to see how they're doing and how's their current work going. Maintaining some semblance of contact, so that when the time comes to actually recruit them, it won't come out of the blue. If your preference is text, than an email or text message wouldn't be hurt either.

Left to right: Tingli, Diane (standing), Chloe and Hannah reviewing resumes of potential candidates
Perhaps once a week instead of desk dining by yourself or going out to lunch with your current team, invite a prospective candidate to lunch. . . especially someone you'd think would make a good future teammate. Of course, don't invite a candidate you've never met before to lunch. . . they might get the wrong idea! But if they're a past classmate, past teammate or someone you've met at a startup event, maintain the touch points.

Left to right: Hannah and Diane hitting the phones to set up initial interviews with potential candidates
If you keep up this process for a period of time, you should be able to maintain either a physical stack or electronic file of many strong candidates for when the time comes to pull the trigger for a hire.

Recruitment and keeping an open file of potential team members is an often overlooked task of a leader, and often the opportunity cost of not preparing ahead of time will hurt your overall effort. So good luck with your recruitment efforts and resume gathering!

By the way, Jibao Team is recruiting engineers. For more info, please go to Jibao's blog.