How can you build the “dream team” or get that “dream job”?
Since I joined the bizdev world and started working with startups in different stages, I realized that recruitment, onboarding and retention are some of the most complicated challenges that managers face. In many startups, roles are built with time and according to the startup’s development, and therefore require people with an agile and adaptive state of mind who quick on their feet and are able to evolve with their position. This means that, many times, there are no proper onboarding or expectation-setting. All this happens in a highly competitive and dynamic market, where employees with this kind of “all in” attitude are hard to find.
Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are
In this blog, I want to focus specifically on recruiting the right employee by identifying the culture and values of the people working at a given startup. It might be a cliché, but the old saying, “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”, is still very true; when you recruit someone who shares your values, you can get a good indicator for their potential integration and retention at your startup. This, of course, is not the only indicator for successful hiring and retention. However, in my experience, looking for a process that is based on our network and shared values, can be an extremely effective way to finding the right people.
What do endurance athletes have to do with QA?
A good friend of mine, Ariel Rosenfeld, the CEO of 3d Signals, was looking for a QA manager a year ago. Since it’s a small startup, he didn’t have an inside recruiter that could help in sourcing and searching for the right candidate. At the time, another friend of mine, Eyal, decided that after 15 years in the finance world, he wanted to start something new in a high-tech company, but had no idea what and where to start. Since I knew them both, as soon as I identified a potential match, I immediately called Ariel and told him: “listen, I have EXACTLY the person you are looking for. He has no background in tech, but he is an ironman”.
This was code. Ariel is an ultra-marathon runner and holds endurance athletes in high regard, since they often share his values: determination, resistance and not giving up easily. Presenting my friend as an ironman made it much easier to convince Ariel to meet with him regardless of the fact that he had no experience in the tech world: no CV needed, no background check. The meeting went great, and fast- forward a year, Eyal is he the Head of QA at 3d Signals. A few months later I discovered another opportunity for Hilla, who I’ve known for more than 15 years and is one of my best friends. I had no idea what a relevant position for her at 3d Signals could be, but I knew that when you work with great people, the rest is (almost) always secondary. So I introduced her to Ariel and the rest is history – 3d Signal’s Product Management Department received one of the most creative and talented people to join their team.
Looking forward, here are my two cents
I assume the first thought you had when you read the last paragraph was: “Ok, what if I‘m not into sports?” Or “what if I don’t have friends who work at startups and can help me?” Then what?” I would recommend defining what is most important for you to have in your workplace and then start searching.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a new employee to join your team, you should define what are the core values that you would want to have in your culture and recruit accordingly. Many times, professional experience is secondary. If you are a “team player”, a work-life integration kind of person, or if you like to combine several fields of interest at the same time – these are the values you should look for in a potential workplace. Because at the end of the day, we spend most of our time at work and we want to do it with people we enjoy talking to and that have the same priorities as we do.
Next time you identify an opportunity and want to help your friends find their next opportunity, try looking at their interests beyond work and the culture of the potential workplace. By doing so, you will not only help your friends realize their ambitions, but will help both sides move towards healthy and effective recruitment and retention processes.