On small teams, hiring managers have a full-time job outside of recruiting — which can also feel like a full-time job in itself. While hiring is one of the highest leverage thing you can do for the team, it can often fall in the bucket of “important, not urgent” and slip to the bottom of the to-do list.
A weekly or bi-weekly sync for everyone who’s responsible for adding to the team can help everyone keep each other on track, carves out the space to problem solve when a hiring process gets stuck or slows down, and helps a plan come together when closing candidates.
If there is no head of recruiting, this meeting will typically be run by the CEO, and will be attended by all hiring managers and ICs that regularly participate in the hiring process.
1. Opening round ( 5 mins )
Go round the room and share how you're showing up to the meeting. Red, yellow green. How are you feeling and what's on your mind.
2. Last week's wins ( 5 mins )
Celebrate last week’s wins! Candidates signed, new jobs kicked off, any big blockers lifted
3. Review open roles ( 5 mins )
Review list of open job-descriptions and target hire dates, calibrate on how on track things are. Note consensus on red, yellow, green.
4. New roles ( 5 mins )
Review new hire specs: who the hiring manager is, key competencies and responsibilities, example profiles, and who internally is available for each interview type.
5. Existing roles ( 5 mins )
Share if any profiles need tweaking. For example, following sourcing and early interviews realizing more experience is needed.
6. Review candidate pipeline ( 15 mins )
Starting with candidates in the offer stage and moving backwards. Spend the most time as a team discussing how to move the candidates down the pipeline.
7. Discuss and resolve flags ( 5 mins )
Review open topics flagged during daily check or provided ahead of the meeting.
8. Closing round (plus, one big thing) ( 5 mins )
Share how you feel the meeting went and your top priority for the week.
Hi Nicky, thanks for sharing your hiring pipeline meeting agenda with us. This agenda comes from your time at Skillshare, right? Could you give some background on the situation and what prompted the creation of the meeting?
In the fairly early days at Skillshare as a small team, we hit a period of time where we had dozens of open roles and no full time recruiter! This meant most ICs were part of an interview process for the first time in their career, with many of the hiring managers also fairly new to hiring. This scenario probably sounds quite familiar to many other early stage companies looking to go from 10 to 20+ employees in a short period of time.
Hiring often falls in the bucket of “important but not urgent”. When you are focused on hitting ambitious sales targets or shipping crucial product features like you always are at a fast moving startup, it’s easy to put hiring new teammates on the back burner for the things you have to do NOW. While understandable, it’s a risk that your company can’t really can’t afford.
So just like many companies have meetings to review KPIs, sales pipeline, and product roadmap, we set up one for our hiring pipeline - it was just as important, if not more, to the success of the business at that time than any of those other meetings. This helped us move candidates through the process on a weekly cadence, because getting behind on this for even a few weeks wasn’t something we couldn’t afford. It also helped to keep a team that wasn’t professionally trained as recruiters aligned, learning and continuously improving on building our team.
For people who might be skeptical of adding more meetings to their week, why do you think this hiring sync is worth the time? How do you think people balance async and sync ime?
I’d argue that recruiting is the most important thing in building a company. When you are scaling up, it involves a lot of on-the-job training, constant cross-functional communication, and rapid problem solving.
Fortunately, quite a bit of this can be moved asynchronously into a tool like Range including updating the pipeline, articulating priorities, and surfacing blockers. As long as everyone takes the time to review this, the synchronous time can be used to focus on alignment around new roles, brainstorming together ways to fill up the top of funnel, or pull promising candidates through the process.
Now that you work with early stage startups at Streamlined Ventures, what advice would you give someone who is about to scale up their hiring process?
Number 1, create a culture where everyone is a recruiter: Talk about recruiting all the time and make it clear how much of a priority it is to the entire leadership team and company. Train your team refer candidates, be a part of interviews, and be a steward of your company values.
Two. Bring a recruiter in-house: Recruiting takes an extraordinary amount of time, so getting a recruiter early can help give you some lift, although you should still expect your leadership team to do the majority of the work. Finding a good recruiter can be tough, so it can be worth starting earlier than later.
Three. Don’t compromise! It will be tempting to lower the bar on qualifications or to look the other way if there’s a highly talented candidate with a questionable attitude- don’t do it! It will nearly always come back to bite you and the clean up will set you back much farther than if you had just waited it out for the right candidate.
What are some of the common challenges you see as hiring starts to scale up?
As your team grows, delegating out the responsibility of identifying candidates that will be successful at your company is a challenge, especially when employees that we’re not on your founding team start running hiring processes. It’s important to articulate early and often your company values, and arm your team with interview questions that allow them to easily suss those qualities out. When fit is defined by who “would you like to grab a beer with this person”, it is impossible to standardize that across the organization (not to mention puts you in a situation where you are likely to minimize diversity of thought). Rather, take the time to define fit based on the qualities and values of what it means to work well together at your company. Skipping this step or deprioritizing due to urgency nearly always results in creating more headaches later on.
Awesome, thanks. Before we go, could you share your top 3 tips for meetings in general?
Nicky is an investor at Streamlined Ventures, a seed stage VC firm based in San Francisco. Prior to Streamlined, Nicky was Director of Growth and Operations at Skillshare, where she joined as an early employee. She also worked at Wildfire (acquired by Google) and Balderton Capital.
Check-in async to reduce meeting load. And level up the meetings you do have with facilitation tools, note taking, and action item tracking.