To make sure the pace was high, I prepared questions and statements and invited the audience to pitch in. The warm-up questions were great starters to dive into the main topic of working with unicorns. It was an evening with open conversations, exciting speakers, and an engaging audience. Let me share the key takeaways from the evening.
1. Ask out-of-the-box questions in interviews
Why are recruiters influential for tech companies to build them up to unicorn status? According to Elisa, after interviewing many people when building the teams at Tesla and Uber, she realised that it was not about the skills but people’s outlook on life. How open were they to learning, and how good were they at storytelling and able to build relationships? When taking this approach, you can create a culturally diverse team. You can find out how people think and act by asking open questions, like: “Tell me about the time when you were able to convince someone of something.” or “If you were a song, which song would you be?” Kobi mentioned that it’s about asking a simple question, primarily when recruiting junior staff. Just ask about how they would run a recruitment process and what role they played in it. Also, expect candidates to have prepped. No experience, but excellent preparation, shows intrinsic motivation to get the job.
2. Build an employer brand together
Recruitment needs to get the right talents in. However, to make this happen, recruiters need to work with marketing to build a great employer brand; you want to create that company together to attract people. Creating an employer brand that people are eager and excited about makes a recruiter's job easier. Have an open outlook on this, see if you can work with marketing and share the brand on social media. Not only the employer brand, but also your personal brand matters and has a role to play in attracting people. Especially in the early phase of growth when the budgets might be small, it's amazing to see what can be achieved by the recruitment department by continuously working on your personal brand. Pro-tip: check the webinar: High-Impact Low-Budget Employer Branding we did with Ingeborg about this topic!
3. Hire the right internal recruiters at the right phase
Another hot topic is the type of people to hire to support the company’s growth. When a company is about to hit unicorn status, Ingeborg stated that hiring people with corporate backgrounds might be preferable to people from start-ups, seeing that they are more used to working within certain procedures. Those recruiters know how the positions, and the steps you can take within a company all align. Elisa concurred by explaining that you need to find people who know how to work with constant changes. People need to understand the company and how constant changes and growth impact everything. The best internal recruiters know how to work with these metrics, so they can also predict what will happen. Then they can change strategy on how the vacancy is positioned. People who enjoy predictable processes fit better with large corporations. People who can work flexibly can fit in with a unicorn company, they should love the hustle instead of waiting for procedures to be in place.
4. Be in the know
The recruiters should know the bottom line of the company but also what’s happening in the world. See how the business is doing and what’s happening in the business news. Stay curious, open and have general knowledge of the current economy. Or, as Kobi simply stated: Understand the business and how they make money. You need to know about the insights of the company. As a TA lead, there’s also an important leadership role, as you should keep your team updated and explain what’s going on. Make sure that their work is valued, even when it goes differently. They need to understand the risks involved with all they do.
Start-ups often fail because of the wrong people – but the responsibility for finding the right people lies with everyone in the organisation not just TA. TA needs to look at the vacancy and see if the job description aligns with the company values; also, management should be involved in knowing what they expect and need. They can’t just take a back seat and wait what TA does, they need to be actively involved.
5. Listen, read and stay up to date
The world of recruitment is fast-paced; it moves in continuous waves that fluctuate rapidly. Keeping up with current affairs, business, and trends in your field should be part of your work-life. Our experts shared the tools they use to stay abreast of the latest. Ingeborg listens to the People’s Masterminds podcast and reads the latest on Silicon Canals to understand the Dutch/Amsterdam markets. Kobi also likes to listen to podcasts, and he recommends Global HR. Also, the Slack-channel People Pros is one of his tips. Elisa said that signing up to Recruiting Brainfood, the newsletter of Hung Lee, is a great way to get the ins & outs. She also listens to podcasts, reads the TechCrunch newsletter and connects with LinkedIn influencers. Another tip from Elisa is to read the book “Say less, ask more and change the way you lead forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier.
These five takeaways are just a snippet of what was shared on this lovely evening together. Let me reiterate how proud I feel to have hosted such an awesome evening with our team of keenies.
Let’s keep the conversation going, and I hope to see you at the following #KeenTalks.