When kicking off a new hiring initiative, one of the phrases that I hear most frequently from hiring managers is, “We need to hire this person yesterday!” As a recruiter, my response is always the same: challenge accepted.  

Hiring Managers: I hear you. Your team’s success is dependent on hiring the right people onto your team. But especially in startups, employees are already swamped with their regular duties – and adding a time-consuming, yet critical deliverable on top of that can feel overwhelming. However, not treating the startup recruiting process like a part of your job is a huge missed opportunity – especially when you need to hire for an open role yesterday.

Changing the perspective on recruiting to one of partnership hiring can have a great impact on the hiring process, and on results. This involves ensuring that hiring is a shared responsibility where both the hiring manager and recruiter are active participants, with defined roles and responsibilities. This holds true both for internal recruiting relationships, where the hiring manager and recruiter are both employees of the company, as well as external relationships with an outside recruiting agency.

Improve startup recruiting by:

Tip #1: Define the role you’re hiring for.

This may seem fairly obvious, but you would be surprised how often a hiring manager relies on an outdated job description that does not accurately describe the open position or the skills required for success.

It’s helpful to make sure that the job description describes the skills that are necessary for success in the job - both those that would be nice to have, as well as separating out those that are critical to start with and those that can be learned.


Tip #2: Describe the ideal candidate.

The more clearly you define the ideal candidate at the beginning of the process, the easier it will be to measure the candidates you get against this standard. Paint a picture of the ideal candidate with as much detail as you can, considering questions such as: specific background, experience or expertise; companies to target or avoid; certifications or other proof of knowledge - whatever will help the candidate be most successful in the position.


Tip #3: Clarify who’s doing what.

One of the most difficult things about creating a partnership hiring process is deciding – and understanding – where different responsibilities lie. This can vary from one company to another, and even from one position to another; but without transparent assignment of responsibilities, it is very easy to drop the ball and unfortunately, to lose out on great candidates.

Some responsibilities that should be clarified include:

  • Initial review of applications / resumes
  • Secondary / technical review, if necessary
  • Screening interview
  • Follow-up
  • Final (team or department) interview

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Tip #4: Consider the team.

When asked, most people will tell you that the thing they love most about their job is the people. This is often the critical factor that makes candidates choose one job over others. It’s essential for your recruiter to have an understanding of the team from the outset – even during the initial review of applications. Understanding how to find the person who will add to the culture of the team and the organization helps to improve overall candidate quality. Some things to clarify at the outset include:

  • Organizational structure of the team
  • Team dynamic: cultures and personalities
  • Role of the team within the company
  • Existing team skills

Investing in a great partnership with your recruiter gives them the tools they need to better understand the role and adjust to your likes/dislikes/personal recruiting philosophy. This will help to streamline the recruiting process, find you the best possible candidates, and, ultimately, avoid wasting time and energy on candidates that are ultimately not the right fit for the role.


written by Katie Moriarity, Recruiting Consultant