Choosing who to hire is among the most important decisions that will be made when building a successful company or organization. Investing the proper time, resources and strategy will pay dividends in the end, or at least that is the hope. Finding awesome prospects is half the battle.
Webconnex has developed unconventional strategies when it comes to finding potential new hires. If you have been reading our blog for any amount of time, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Operating ‘by the book’ has never been in our protocol. We take chances and develop processes that match our culture, our company and our goals.
We don’t spend our afternoons flipping through piles of resumes, we’ve never used LinkedIn or ZipRecruiter, and we rarely interview more than 5 people for a position. Our customized strategy has served us well and we believe a Dream Team has been developed.
*As a fun bonus, to put our money where our mouth is, we have included a list at the end of this post on how we found each of our most recent hires.
Here are some insights to what our process looks like to identify potential new hires, feel free to steal some and add them to your hiring tool belt.
Don’t Start With A Job Posting
I told you it was unconventional. This is the first step most companies take. Not us. We have grown our team to 15 and have only posted a public job listing a couple of times and it was actually just for short contracted work.
Don’t get me wrong, public job postings can be great. They just aren’t our first resort. We tend to tap other valuable and often overlooked ‘markets’ first. In part because we lean more towards having a personal reference or connection to the prospects.
Scroll Through Contacts
This is our starting ground for hiring. Our hiring team gathers in a room, we pull out our phones and start analyzing our contact list. We scroll through and shout out names as they spark interest in our minds, along with a quick defense as to why that person would be a good fit. If it still feels good after we give their brief bio, and nobody shoots them down, they are added to a list.
Once the list is established, we round-robin again and elaborate on the folks we each nominated for the list. We envision them on the team. We state pros and cons of their personality type, work-ethic, and any other helpful information we know about them. We ask ourselves, “Would we be dumb not to hire this person?”
This process typically whittles the list down to 1–4 people. The lists typically aren’t very long, as we have developed such a laser focus on the personality type, skill set and culture fit we are looking for.
Social Networks and Circles
Once we exhaust our phone contacts, we move to Facebook. We read through our friends lists and browse through the various group pages we are involved with, looking for that person who electrifies our excitement. From close friends, to college classmates, teammates, to acquaintances; we scour the social interwebs for our next hire.
We may not be known for posting job ads, but, we have been known to post Facebook statuses that read, “Who is the friendliest person you know?” or “Name someone you know who is incredibly friendly, yet a little nerdy.” It was affirming to see multiple people on our team mentioned in the comments below. There was another name mentioned by multiple people, who we later ended up hiring.
Always Keep Your Feelers Out There
We are always on the lookout for potential hires, even when we aren’t hiring. When we meet new people, when we work with other companies, when we are at community groups, events, the grocery store, etc. We keep mental notes of people who could be a good fit, for example, we always had a dream of launching a video department to share our company culture with the world.
We once saw a guy in a promotional video for an upcoming event and we told ourselves, “He is amazing! We HAVE to hire him!”. We weren’t quite ready to hire for that position; but over a year later when the time came, we knew exactly who to call. He started a couple weeks later as Chief Storyteller and our video department was born.
Once our list of prospectus has been developed, we rank them, hop on the phone and start setting up meetings. Then the real fun begins. Once someone feels like they will be a fantastic culture fit and good work ethic, we send them a job offer and begin the employee on-boarding process, which is an art and another post altogether.
Here are a few quick descriptions of how we found a few of our employees:
Aaron — Aaron initially came in to work on a side project. While in the office he answered the phone a few times when customers called in. He was pretty darn good at it so we was offered a full-time job. Aaron is known as Employee Number One and with him, our support team was born.
Ashley (Me) — Eric told a friend he was going to launch RedPodium and wanted to hire someone who was driven and loved endurance sports. That friend mentioned my name. Eric shot me a text that said, “Hey. We are hiring. What is the absolute minimum we could pay you each month to join our team?”. Needless to say, we have since improved upon this hiring process and salaries.
Nathan — He is Luke’s brother. Luke built our entire 3.0 platform and mentioned his brother was an aspiring code nerd as well as looking for a job. We hired Nathan and he has since built amazing things for our system.
Maci — Her husband is best friends with mine. I caught wind they were moving back from Orange County and she would be looking for a job. We invited her in for an interview and the rest is history. It is because of Maci that our blog exists today.
Cody — One of my good friends’ ex-boyfriends. Yes, seriously. He was one of the more driven, fun, responsible guys we had known. His name happened to be mentioned multiple times in a Facebook status we had posted, asking, “Who is the most fun and awesome person you know?”
Nanno — Our lead developer. We had previously worked with him on projects when he was with another company and he was stellar. When the opportunity arose, we called him right away to invite him to be our CTO.
Kristina — Is the person we hired who had been mentioned countless times when we asked our social networks to list the most friendly and happy person they knew. Yes, we actually hired someone from that.
Katie — Eric sometimes speaks at a weekly service where he made mention of a stack of business books he loves. Katie approached him afterwards and said she loves business and reading. She also mentioned she loved her current job, which didn’t stop us from asking if she’d like to meet for coffee and talk about potentially working for Webconnex.
Alex — Sent Eric (one of our co-founders) a text to see if he would meet for lunch. He was an civil engineer and wanted to ask about how he could get into learning code. His drive and knowledge impressed us and we offered him a job to learn and grow with Webconnex.
John G. — I text a friend who I thought would be a great fit. He begrudgingly declined because he was getting ready to hike the Pacific Coast Trail. But he gave me the number to one of his best friends, who wasn’t even looking for a job, but thought he would be a good fit. Now John G. is one of our most cherished ninja nerds.
Are there any unique tactics you use to track down awesome new employees? If so, comment below. We’d love to hear about them!