What is the single most important thing you need if you are building a company? Well, you may say: a great idea, money to start with, customers would be nice. All these are definitely useful, but you won’t get anything done if you don’t have people to do it. The single most important thing you need to build a team are the actual people! People who share your vision, who are driven to achieve the goals and who have the technical skills to get the job done.
What does it mean for you as a leader? And what does it mean for your team? Everyone’s top priority when building an organization must be recruitment and growing people. You simply can’t outsource the most important thing to external recruiter or to HR department. They can help you, provide tools, in fact even source some good candidates but at the end of the day it is your responsibility and the responsibility of your team to identify the best (and by that I mean the right) people and get them on board.
When building my team over the last couple of years it was a mantra: first deal with any emergency the customers might have; then focus on recruitment; and only then do the rest of your job. It may sound a bit counter-intuitive but it is actually pretty logical. If you don’t find the time to recruit people and grow the team because you are overloaded by other tasks you will stay overloaded forever. At the other hand if you give the recruitment a priority you get the people who will do the work you are putting off and much more.
Everyone is a recruiter
In most countries and cultures the best source of candidates are referrals. These are people who are recommended by someone already on your team. You should encourage the team to help sourcing new candidates. There is no need for them starting act as professional recruiters (in fact they shouldn’t as it could confuse potential candidates), but they should let their network of contacts know that you are hiring and they should find the time to approach and talk to their former colleagues who are qualified.
Everyone is an interviewer
Every person on your team should get opportunity to be involved in the recruitment process. Obviously, you don’t want to push people who are not interested and thus wouldn’t do a good job, but you want to be open to anyone on the team who raises hand and wants to get involved. Why would you do that? There are several good reasons that offset the fact that while interviewing candidates they are not producing.
- Scalability – the more people you are able to involve in the interview process the more candidates you can process without overtaxing yourself
- Ownership – if the team participates in the interview process and their thoughts and recommendations are being taken seriously it promotes sense of ownership for growing the team, and will at the end help with acceptance of new team members once they join
- Sales – involving people in the interview process has also the positive side effect on referrals as mentioned above as they learn how to present the company
- Communication – people involved in the interview process learn how to communicate better, how to evaluate people, how to share their thoughts, how to provide feedback and how to come to agreement
Everyone is a leader
You want to give people responsibility for hiring their colleagues as it lets them improve their leadership skills. Most of the points mentioned above are really important for any leader. He needs to be able to communicate well; come to agreement with others; evaluate other people and provide feedback; make a decision; talk about the job, vision, company; have sense of ownership. It is also important that you provide feedback on the way how they run the interview, figure out a way to get some feedback from candidates and keep the team apprised about the process and who was at the end selected.
And what about you?
It is your responsibility as a leader to build your team and while lots of the work and recommendations can be done by others you want to get involved at some stage. If you have done your job in training your team well, then there is 99 percent probability that you will agree with their recommendation. It is not the point of you double checking their work. The reason why you want to talk to the candidate is different:
- You want to be seen by the candidate as a leader
- You want to be able to share your vision for the team
- You want to show respect for the candidate and let him know that he is really important to you and to the company
And yes, scalability might be an issue here so you may share this responsibility with couple of other senior leaders in your organization.
Twitter type summary: “It’s not a single person. It takes everyone from the team to recruit, interview and build a great team that will hold together.”
Do you involve your team in recruitment interviews? What and the positive and possible negative aspects you see with this approach? How do you ensure that you hire the right people and how much do you rely on HR department?