The fourth quarter, otherwise known as “Q4,” is notoriously the most hectic quarter for recruiting. Not only is it crunch time to hit hiring goals for the current year, it’s also when companies begin to determine the upcoming year’s revenue goals and subsequently, headcount. In the spirit of this, I’ve boiled down my 4 favorite quotes to keep you focused on your overall mission as you look to achieve your Q4 hiring goals.
1. “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” – Yes, it’s great to have an idea of your ideal candidate. This person is probably coming from a company that sells into your same vertical or decision maker, has always been the best rep on their team, has a “hustler” mentality, and *fill in another buzz word here.* However, I’ve watched numerous companies suffer because they held out hope that the perfect person was going to come along, and never did. Unicorn hunting is the quickest way to kill your recruiting process, hiring goals, revenue stream, and potentially, your business. As Brian Reed explains, “The unicorn recruitment strategy is widespread. As managers, we scour the earth in search of these mythical creatures to be the cornerstones for our teams. We often feel like if we can just get a couple of these ‘A’ players, the rest will take care of itself. But this strategy comes with a cost. It’s hard to find unicorns. Unicorns might not want to come work at your little-known company. Unicorns might not be enthralled by your maturing industry and 5th generation technology.” Which leads to our next quote…
2. “Love isn’t always on time” – Know when to walk away. There will be times when you meet a candidate you love. A candidate who could do wonders for your business and could take you to the next level. But, remember that though there are plenty of similarities to recruiting and sales, at the end of the day, people cannot be sold. Rob Long of Workable even argues that recruiting isn’t “just like sales” because, “recruiting is a complicated, bi-directional matching process.” This must be a two-way street. If something doesn’t match up right now, don’t try to force the matter. As a founder, it’s important to realize that you will be hiring for years to come and even if timing may not be right today, a lot can change in a quarter or a year. Be ready to acknowledge where your business is at this exact moment, and if it truly makes sense for this person to come onboard and be successful right away. Rather than overselling the opportunity, leave the conversation open ended with the understanding that there may be a time in the future when the opportunity will better align with both the candidate and the company’s goals.
3. “Don’t miss the forest for the trees” – SDRs are responsible for top of funnel. AEs close business. Customer Success ensures low churn. We all know that people in these roles have far more on their plate than just one thing, and reps who end up being successful do so because of their ability to tackle many aspects of a role at once. That said, it can be easy to nitpick what someone doesn’t have in their background, or get narrowly focused on microcosms about each candidate, especially when you’re interviewing numerous people at one time. Therefore, we need to shift our focus to a candidate’s overall potential. What have they done up to this point to prove that they will be successful in the role? Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, ranked by BusinessWeek as one of the most influential executive search consultants in the world explains, “As business becomes more volatile and complex, and the global market for top professionals gets tighter, I am convinced that organizations and their leaders must transition to what I think of as a new era of talent spotting–one in which our evaluations of one another are based not on brawn, brains, experience, or competencies, but on potential.” In summation, when we are evaluating candidates, the question should not be, “Do they check every bullet I wrote on the job description?” rather, “Do they have the potential to do what we need them to do?” For more tactical ways to determine if someone has the potential to be a great hire, check out Early Sales Hires: The Questions That Everyone Needs to be Asking.
4. “Champagne taste on a water budget” – Hiring top talent is expensive. Hiring experienced talent is expensive. Can you afford to hire the person you want most? What level of talent are you able to pay for at this point? These are the questions that every founder needs to be asking before they kick off a search for new talent. Effective this month, New York City employers won’t be able to ask for your salary history anymore, in the interest of making sure that all qualified candidates are paid market value, regardless of their current income. This new law makes it increasingly important for founders and hiring managers to understand market rate for candidates when deciding to hire. Two great places to get compensation data are 1) your investors and 2) trusted recruiting firms. Recruiters are talking to candidates every day and have a pulse on changes in the market in real time. Most agencies also release compensation reports at the end of every year with data that has been collected, and most VCs will have this kind of information on hand for their portfolio companies… utilize these resources! And don’t forget, even if you can’t afford this candidate now, you may be able to in the future—revisit quote #2.
At the end of the day, if you’re contentious about hiring for potential, instead of perfection, and you are aware of focusing your energy on candidates that are a fit for your company, you’ll be well on your way to hitting your Q4 hiring goals. Good luck!
If you liked “4 Quotes for Hitting Your Q4 Hiring Goals” and want to read more content from the Bowery Capital Team, check out other relevant posts from the Bowery Capital Blog.