Following up on my earlier post on good things to look for in people when you are hiring – Recruit the internet-savvy – I picked up on some useful notes whilst at TechCrunch‘s GeeknRolla on recruiting into startups, which I think are useful for pretty much any organisation. I also think it’s interesting to think how public services can learn from the culture of startup businesses, including around recruitment.
The talk was by Pete Smith from Songkick, which is a service that lets you track all sorts of information about your favourite live music acts, such as upcoming concerts, videos and recordings.
Here’s the notes:
- Hiring is a top challenge for a startup and getting it wrong can serious affect momentum
- Always be hiring
- Better not to hire though, rather than to compromise on talent and drive
- Very inefficient to hire from outside your network – plan for this
- Grow your network as it’s the best way to hire good people
- Have a hiring roadmap, build it into other choices: buildings, perks, and the tech you use
- Risk taking in hiring comes later in a startup’s life, not early on
- Vet applications ruthlessly before even meeting people
- Spend as much time growing your network as you do looking at ‘non-network’ candidates
- Hiring devs – use coding exercises then phone interview, then tech interview, then a ‘pairing session’ (not sure what that is)
- Everyone you hire initially is vital to establishing the culture of your startup
- How to recover from hiring errors: make sure you leave things on a good note. Don’t let people leave under a cloud. Make decision quickly but manage the exit – don’t let it drag on. Better to leave work undone than allow the wrong people to keep going.
These thoughts chime in with some activity coming out of the IDeA with regard to talent management, recruit and workforce planning. In the current financial climate, there is a lot of talk of cuts and redundancies which has the potential to be incredibly damaging.
So, the IDeA have launched an online resource, on ‘organisational redesign‘ with some useful case studies and guidance. A thriving community of practice also exists too (with various layers of sign-up required).
I honestly believe that local authorities could make massive improvements to their efficiency and levels of service if they recruited better, and made better use of the talent they already have. I consider myself to be a great example of the failings of local government workforce management. Some of the things that are important, I think, are:
- To get people to do a good job, they need a good job to do
- Innovators and the enthusiastic should not be treated as troublemakers or weirdos, but be treasured and made to feel special
- Staff should be trusted. If you genuinely can’t trust all of them, give the good ones leeway
- Give people the tools they need to be able to do their job well
- Value things like curiosity, generosity, cooperation and openness
- Allow the good people in your organisation to find each other
- Have proper systems and processes in place for inventive people to be able to suggest and progress good ideas
The IDeA are also organising an event in Birmingham on 19th May, called ‘Designing a fit for the future organisation‘. I’m going, because it sounds pretty interesting. Hope to see others there.