Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hiring Walls Growing Companies Hit

There are a few different hiring walls that you'll hit when growing a company.

Wall #1 - Your first hire needs to be awesome. You've got some money, and hopefully coming in from revenue that you generate. There's more work to do than you can handle. Hiring employee number one is hard more from an emotional standpoint. This person needs to be good enough to do the job with minimal training, be self managing (who has time to hire an time sucking attention hog?), and be passionate about the business that they think of it as their business (preferably because you allocate a percentage of the business to them). This person should compliment your skills and push you to become better.

Wall #2 - You've hired all your friends. You've hired all your friends, and now there's a dearth of employee referrals to fill new positions. The pressure is on to hire people. What do you do? Hire a recruiter? Find time you don't have to interview people? Dump a ton of money on a staffing agency? I don't think there's an easy answer to this question. If you can find a good solution that works for you, you're lucky. If you struggle to find the bandwidth to hire good people, I strongly recommend throttling the company's growth until you work the process out. If you screw up this stage, your company will die; the bad people you hire will be the ones who kill it.

Wall #3 - No more cool stuff to do. There will be a point where your company will run out of cool stuff to work on. The interesting parts are built, which makes it hard to hire smart people who like to be challenged. This is all relative, but even Google has this problem. How do you hire good people if the work isn't that interesting? Simple, compensate them a lot, either financially or emotionally. I hope you've built a company that makes a ton of money or satisfies the troops' need to be relevant. Don't come up with a mission statement, be on a mission (ooh, new blog post material!) that people buy into with their hearts, and they'll work cheaper; successful nonprofits do this well.

If you can get past these three walls, you're probably okay. There will be parts of your company that will always be hard to hire for, but those are problems you can solve with time and money. Build in a rigorous process for attracting, identifying, and retaining the right people, and you'll be good to go on hiring.

No comments:

Post a Comment