Why Startup needs to use Headhunters more than others?

startup company and headhunters
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During these past few years, I came across many startups that came to us seeking for help in their search for employees. This obviously is because the startups are in rapid expansion mode while the more established one are either in replacement mode or slow expansion. The reason I am writing this article is because a recent experience with one of our client who had a bad experience with a bad candidate hired due to some mistakes in the process. Now this may go a bit long as I need to explain the situation which most or all startups face in recruitment incase non startups are reading this article.

A startup is normally built by a team of people who has the same passion, mission and vision like any other company, they have attachment towards each other which is loyalty and goals, and they are so called partners or directors or founders and many other names. Now as they try to build their products and services, they also build their team. Initially building of team doesn’t get as rapid as they still have network and circle of friends. Now once that is done and more people believe in them, and there is growth in users or potential growth in everything else, next comes investment from venture capitals or so called third party. The pressure here increases as now they have more cash, more power but more responsibility and targets to achieve; therefore more team member is needed in shorter time.

What normally they do is they utilize all the sources they can to find the correct people in the correct timing, this can be done by posting vacancies wherever whenever, employee referral program, employer branding, network or circle of friends, using online recruitment companies and last but not least using headhunters. As a startup, they need people with high quality, high energy, and high integrity as these companies work in less supervision but rely on employees’ hard work and responsible attitude and many other things.  

Now, the mistake normally these people do is that to minimize the cost of recruitment they tend to go to those options which is cheaper and faster. Using a job board may be helpful, but you need a full time internal recruitment team maybe of 10 people to go through 2,000 CVs that come in and finally hire 50 of them, in a duration of let’s say 2-3 months as interviews will happen several times, plus verification and wrong profiles comes in and out, plus rejection and so on any recruiter would know the drill. To save time and not to hire 10 internal recruiter, people normally go using social media and sometimes the new so called companies calling themselves ‘online recruitment platform’, which actually takes out the human verification, interaction and judgment from the process, while the software does it for them, cheaper, faster and gets some result. What happens next is the candidate sits on the bench works for 1 month or 2 and moves out or fired because he is not the right person in the right seat or even causing more problems to the company. Why did this happen?

A very simple an logical answer is that this happened because many recruitment  that happens in the startups are taking out the process in the recruitment itself and many times taking the human verification, interaction and judgment out of the process for the purpose of cost and speed, however quality is therefore compromised.

I have had the chance to work for several startups who took recruitment very seriously and left it to the headhunters or the recruitment agencies to do it for them, despite of charging them more and taking a bit longer time, but have been successful hire and employees sustain and work more productively, as suitability is not done by any software but by man to man conversation, due diligence, reference checks, etc. Some of the normal process of a search firm or headhunter is as follows:

  1. Have a brief with the client on the position description, requirements, company culture and other information needed.
  2. Next is to source from different places such as database, networking, online, job portals, advertisement and others – which you don’t have to do anymore if already using an agent.
  3. Another step is to collect complete data of candidates and then INTERVIEW the candidate on behalf of clients and to check suitability; in depth interview is done by experienced consultants briefed by clients’ needs and not by a software or system. This part is crucial as this will determine whether this profile of candidate will further move to client’s desk or not.
  4. In case a match, consultant will then present to clients and help them arrange interviews how many every times needed until closure and assist in negotiating the terms and package, etc.
  5. Now during the process there are other verifications such as collecting salary slips, making reference checks to previous employers, calling universities to check certificates, suggesting medical check, psychological assessment, and letter of good conduct and many important documents that should not be missed by client during the hustle or the speedy process of recruitment. These steps and suggestions can come from the experts.

As speed is very important to startups, imagine how many steps from on top would have been skipped for the candidate to be on board sooner. Simply because they don’t have enough hands to process these steps faster as they are not giving recruitment agents to work on these assignments and get these results for them in a timely manner. Now, missing any of these steps would cost much more than the cost saved of not using agents. Imagine if candidates were actually not suitable to the role, imagine if they were not working in the company they mentioned on their CV, imagine if their degree was fake, and many other things could actually happen. Worst of all, some startups don’t have an HR team that could suggest them correctly what are the correct steps to do on recruitment process to minimize the risk of taking in the wrong person. So suggestions really need to come from experts which are external experienced recruitment agencies.

I did mention that these cases happen more to startups due to their nature of business which is very speed conscious and target driven, however it also happens to any fast growing old company who decided they want to save cost and save time by taking out the human in the process and moreover taking out some of the process in recruitment itself.

Well, hope this helps for those new entrepreneurs or recruiters out there to decide whether they should or should not utilize the help of agents and why.

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