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5 tips when scaling your hiring in a rapid-growth company

Every high-growth company eventually faces similar issues over and over – or should we call them challenges? As Elad Gil put it in his High Growth Handbook: “One of the biggest challenges a company faces as it scales is to revamp its recruiting and employee onboarding processes.”

scaling your hiring - 5 tips

And it doesn’t matter if you are growing from 50 to 150 people or if you are at the stage where you’re adding 500 people each year. Either way, HR should be layered in the company structure so each high-growth moment will be seasoned with the proper approach to the required shifts in the hiring strategy.

When you plan to grow, make sure to set down some basic hiring patterns. Once you start growing – and scaling your hiring process – you can just customize and adapt. A shedload of those patterns is directly linked to HR and hiring managers’ cooperation. (In startups, hiring managers are usually executive team members, C-level representatives, and team leaders.)

It may seem clear-cut, as a lot has already been said and written about successful hiring – but it becomes a much more complicated business when it’s a high-growth environment.

Here, I want to share five simple and clear steps that can significantly impact your hiring and allow you to scale the team successfully in high-demand conditions.

1. Establish a hiring plan

The growth phase is one of the most challenging moments for your company. People and teams are at the center of this growth and, even if there is a slim chance of being accurate in estimating your hiring needs, it is uber-crucial to keep HR in the loop about them.

You need to know where your company is going, at least in the near term. Your estimate might encompass one quarter or half a year – either way, it will create a place for proper planning and taking care of the essential positions by the HR team.

This all requires a clear, well-thought-out hiring plan when scaling your hiring process. It should, ideally, include the following information:

  • the domain of the most-wanted specialists
  • specific areas of expertise within the said domain (ideally)
  • the level of knowledge and background you are looking for
  • the desired timeline of hiring (this one is all-important for HR)

Once your hiring needs are estimated and documented, the future success of your hyper-growth will have a strong foundation. Both HR and hiring managers will be on the same page with the same vision and context of the company’s needs.

This is the moment when we jump into role definitions.

2. Define brand-new positions clearly

Once the company starts scaling rapidly, you will have less and less time. Once the hiring plan is established and you’re ready to start scaling your hiring, there comes a point when you should redefine existing positions and define new ones. By that, I mean writing down the whole package of vital information you will use in the upcoming recruitment process or adapting to future ones.

One good practice that still remains is to have a pre-prepared kick-off template to make the brand-new position definition as easy as it is possible for both the HR practitioner and hiring manager. At this point, I want to share with you a very brief kick-off template that could be extended or, in any possible way, modified accordingly to your specific needs.

You should define every position clearly and narrowly by asking more clarifying questions, not fewer. This will bring numerous assets for HR and the hiring manager. These include:

  • The kick-off meeting is the opportunity to build a common understanding between HR and the hiring manager (kick-off meeting template provided by Infermedica).
  • Two-way street communication never hurts. It will create a space for cooperative and respectful relationships.
  • Once you define the position clearly and diligently, compile the information which can be re-used for job description publishing, promoting, sourcing, or redefining the initial assumptions in a future situation.
  • The job description should be shared later on with people interviewing for the role (everyone involved in the process – including the jobseeker – will then be aware of the experience and background you are looking for).
  • Both kick-off meeting notes and job descriptions will direct HR into clear boundaries of future sourcing.

3. Refine your sourcing strategy

Let’s be honest, there is no way to hire for some roles without properly sourcing or directly messaging people who you think would be a great fit for the company.

The talent market is getting more and more competitive and, along with the rapid growth (which is no doubt very exciting), it rushes a tremendous amount of hiring. This is the moment when you should really try to dedicate time to preparing your sourcing strategy.

No matter what stage your company is in at the moment when scaling your hiring process, you should never forget that you represent the company in the eyes of the candidate. You advertise it, sell it and create a candidate experience that will be shared with other people in the market sooner or later. You are the face of the company’s employer brand during the sourcing process, and it should be planned wisely.

There are two things you should be focusing on here:

  • Reaching out to candidates who fit the job description.
  • Reaching out to candidates with the best possible message.

This is where HR and hiring manager collaboration comes into the picture. It doesn’t mean your hiring manager should jump into HR shoes and learn how to create a Boolean string in LinkedIn, nor does it mean you can tell the hiring manager what they need exactly for the role.

What might work great for pinning down the sourcing strategy is:

  • Create and share a direct message template that you are planning to use with the hiring manager (this might take some time, but the input HR might get here is gigantic)
  • Share a few ideal candidate profiles, ideally four to seven, which will ensure that both HR and the hiring manager are on the same page. It’ll also establish a good marker role for further sourcing.

4. Interview Prep Kit is a timesaver

Adam Robinson, author of The Best Team Wins: Build Your Business Through Predictive Hiring, says that 90% of companies lack a structured hiring process. I am unsure if this number reflects the current reality, but an unstructured process can be excruciating for the company.

Structuring the hiring process is an enormously broad topic, so I will focus on one of the things that might drive a better outcome and better experience (both for the candidates and the hiring team) as they pertain to scaling your hiring process.

When you are interviewing the candidate and there are numerous people involved, you should establish a structure with interview questions. I will be honest, this is very time-consuming, but only at the beginning.

The main problem we are solving here is:

  • Clarifying the areas that should be evaluated during the interview.
  • Matching questions to make this evaluation more efficient.

Preparing an all-purpose interview prep kit will benefit hiring managers during both the ongoing and future interviews. Prepared once, it could be tailored, extended, or modified to specific needs later on.

5. A scorecard might be a good idea

We can all agree that being on the same page regarding professional areas that should be evaluated is a key to the successful recruitment process.

What might escape us is that we are working with different people trained in varying approaches to interviewing. But, sometimes, this is not even the main challenge. High-growth environments can force employees to fast-track the art of recruiting, and this is where HR teams should step in with something more clear, shorter, and concrete than an interview prep kit.

Interview scorecards might be a great alternative. The list of qualifications, traits, and skills will:

  • Help you zero in on your ideal candidate characteristics.
  • Guide the hiring team through the most important areas of the person you want to hire.
  • Create a very simple and clear evaluating process (and also structure the whole hiring process).
  • Simplify the process of sharing opinions about the candidate with all interested parties.

Simply put: remember that there’s no one general hiring structure that will work for every high-growth company. Learn from companies that are or were, a while ago, exactly where you are now. Take into account their best practices, but remember to build your hiring strategy and processes based on your specific environment dependents.

We wish you the best of luck in scaling your hiring needs!

Oleksandra Chernyak is a Recruitment Manager at Infermedica, which creates AI-powered healthcare solutions that support patients and physicians in making the best clinical decisions.

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