For startups and fast-growth companies hiring and maintaining a successful team is a number one priority. This is clearly obvious for all companies, but in todays tight talent market it is more difficult and more important than ever.
In the 18 years I have worked in the TMT recruitment market there have been many changes but getting the team right is a constant. Last year in Greater London alone a record 184,000 new businesses were registered and although obviously not all of them were in technology it shows the level of entrepreneurship and competition in the marketplace.
What are the key factors to building a successful team?
Firstly, it is important to know the market you are operating in, who are the competitors, what is the talent and recruiting landscape? The most successful teams are borne out of a detailed search and match process that the business buys into and understands.
It is crucial to understand the outcome a company is looking for and work back from there when looking for the right candidate. Many businesses are quick to describe the person they are looking for and what they have done when they should evaluate what a candidate is potentially capable of delivering.
Hiring is no different to making a capital investment, you should ensure you have a clear need for the role and once sure, you can make the decision to invest in it. That means being prepared to pay for and secure the best talent, including ensuring the correct equity incentives.
What do you need to deliver in the next 12 – 18 months?
Any team augmentation should be built around delivering the next 12 months growth and development, too many companies hire people thinking they need to be the right person for life, in reality it’s about delivering next years plan. As such, once a team is in place clear decisions need to be made about the future; who do we keep, how do we keep them and who do we move out? Firing can be as important as hiring.
The European talent pool is growing
Hiring in EMEA for startups and growth companies is challenging, we learn a great deal from the US model of distributed organisations and the challenges of remote leadership. The good news is that the US no longer has a monopoly on IP and EMEA companies have a proven ability to build equity value here. This means our available talent pool is now truly global, this in turn makes search and finding the right team a process that needs to be approached with science and rigour.
Before you conduct the search you must ask questions of the business in terms of who will be the right person/people, what behaviours and experience are you looking to achieve?
Once you have the shortlist, interview a good range of people (including some from outside your comfort zone) and reference them thoroughly. Try to be open minded, remember the executive skill sets required for a start-up are very different to those of a big company, also you are likely to encounter some big egos….
For future growth the best companies develop new executives from within, coaching and personal development are now huge factors for US startups looking to hire great people.
In my next post I will look at the challenges facing European businesses launching in the US market, specifically in securing the best talent in a fiercely competitive landscape.
Post produced in partnership with Sebastian Kayll, Founder Partner of Renaissance Leadership