Talent Acquisition

Is Your Startup in Hyper-Growth or Just Hyper-Enthusiastic?

Over the past year, I’ve met many ambitious tech companies in Los Angeles and Vancouver that tend to get lost over the hype, their “thing”, but it’s never as cool as it sounds. Why? I think part of the reason is because, behind every ambitious tech company exists an ambitious entrepreneur, who believes their invention, product, service, app, etc. is the next ‘big thing’.

Although there may be some truth behind their vision, I see many startups, small businesses, even digital agencies, become distracted by their vision, and forget they lack people to bring their vision to life.

If your company is at a point where they’re having crisis meetings instead of scrum meetings, there’s still hope.

My first recommendation to companies: understand your timeline (how much time before launch?), then understand where ‘you’ as a company fall short; is it people, IT, advertising, skills, recruiting?

If your company anticipates growth, let’s talk strategy.

As a tech recruiter, I have startups and digital agencies in the tech hubs of Vancouver and Los Angeles approach me for my best take on how to support their shortage in people.

Common questions I’ve come across:

Should we…

  • Use job boards?
  • Attend job fairs?
  • Attend/sponsor tech event(s)?
  • Stalk candidates on LinkedIn?
  • Post jobs and company info on social media?
  • Should I hire a full-time recruiter?

Depending on your company’s current and future state, the answer to these questions may be yes and/or it depends. From my experience, if a company is going through a ‘growth-phase’, determine how long that phase is anticipated to last and how many roles are required to be filled.

The main idea here is to veer away from decisions made under ‘panic mode’.

Solution? Let’s talk agency recruiting.

I’ve had the pleasure of working onsite with a local digital agency here in Vancouver, bringing in ‘search’ capacity, and specialized recruiting and sourcing skills to support their growth needs.

How does this differ from hiring a full-time/permanent recruiter?

Flexibility is the new norm. Well, it is when it comes to working in the digital agency and start-up world. Things work a bit different. Their needs are a bit different.

As a recruiting agency, we can tailor our hours and days around their schedule and timeframes. If a client asks for me to attend a tech event at 8:00pm on a Tuesday night on their behalf, I can do that. If they need to leverage me for 2 months to help kick start a project launch, I can do that.

I engage and connect with candidates (whether that be at coding schools, tech events, or on various social media platforms). I prescreen and help with onboarding. I’m very much a part of their team.

Having an agency recruiter taking care of the immediate growth and setting up the recruiting function allows a company to figure out what they need in a future corporate recruiter.

The point here is: being flexible is a win-win.

Any hurdles?

One of the major challenges I face as a tech recruiter is staying relevant in a constantly evolving industry. One might say: “well you don’t need to understand code to be a technical recruiter”, well yes and no.

What you do need to understand is your creative/dev team’s needs: understand what’s crucial (like how in-depth a specific framework is, and whether a candidate needs to know how to apply good design patterns to their code).

These inside gems have allowed me to perfect my hiring techniques.

What other benefits?

Understanding skills is just one element to understanding the larger picture. What about culture? Although culture seems like the sensible word to use when selling a company, sometimes this corporate lingo gets lost in translation.

An onsite recruiter can personalize that mysterious word into facts:

Culture =

  • One-on-one mentorship with our creative team.
  • Engage in discussions about potential client pitches.
  • Team meetings on the rooftop.

Hiring managers are there to help sell the job to your candidates (in terms of skills/responsibilities).

So, should a fast growing startup or digital agency hire a corporate recruiter? If they can find someone who can do all the things I’ve listed above and hit the ground running, maybe so. If not, a recruiting firm with an experienced recruiter in the startup space should be able to handle the early stage hiring.

Author: Angela Bortolussi is an HR Specialist and Recruiter with Recruiting Social’s Vancouver office. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter at @ABortolusssi.

By Angela Bortolussi

Angela Bortolussi is Recruiting Manager [Specializing in Technology I Product] for the Vancouver and Los Angeles Recruiting Social’s office.