We do a lot of workforce planning and recruiting for our clients, finding the administrative, managerial, professional and executive staff they need to help their businesses succeed and grow. Many companies fail to recruit and hire with the evolution of their business in mind; you need people with different qualifications and strengths for your business depending on your growth strategy.
An interesting discussion on this topic was recently offered by Auren Hoffman, CEO of Rapleaf. In his post from VentureBeat entitled “Selecting the best team for the startup gridiron, Hoffman talks about how to outfit your company team for growth, and when to look for an all-around athlete or a niche player. Even if the sports analogy doesn’t resonate with you, the point he is making is valid – you need different kinds of performers on your staff at different stages of your company’s growth.
The all-around athlete excels at multiple roles and can help facilitate growth if you are working with a lean staff. These are the triathlon athletes who can “win” at different tasks. If your team is in what Hoffman has termed “change mode” as a startup, or if you are trying to jockey for a role in a new market or launch a new product, then finding employees with a diverse skill set who can adjust to your changing needs might be just the ticket. One of the biggest hiring mistakes startups make is looking for niche superstars who can’t help build other aspects of the business.
Then there are the position players, who are the best at a specific task, like a pitcher or a designated hitter. If you are scaling mode, where you have an established operation and are trying to build your business based on a solid foundation, then you need to look at the holes in your staff lineup to determine where the weaknesses are and hire accordingly. For example, you may need a killer salesman with a full rolodex in a specific market, or you may need accounting help with the deep expertise to optimize your billing system. If you have a more mature operation, it makes sense to seek more seasoned experts to help you grow.
No matter what positions you are looking to hire, you want to make sure you get the best possible resource to fill the role. As you start your recruiting process, you want to be clear about whether your hiring criteria are better suited to a niche player or an all-star, determine what type of software you need (job posts, ATS, executive recruiting software) define the role accordingly, and be sure you capture it in a job description that defines your need so there are no surprises, either for the new hire or the executive team. Remember that your business needs will change with time, and so will your staffing needs, so while you think you may need an all-around player today, you may find yourself looking to hire a niche superstar tomorrow. Plan accordingly.