Building a Strong Talent Community

Redpoint‘s reputation for supporting founding teams was the main reason I joined the firm last fall to head up Talent. My role is to work with our companies and help them build the right sized recruiting and talent programs.  I love working with our founders and finding ways both big and small to help our companies grow and succeed. Now that I’ve been here six months and worked closely with Redpoint’s partners, I have an even greater appreciation for the issues our companies are facing at both the early and growth stages.

Recently we brought together a group of talent leaders from our companies, including Beepi, Vurb, Homejoy, Coin, and others, to have them meet one another and share their experiences building talent programs. Turns out this group is so passionate about talent there wasn’t enough time to cover everything, so we focused on three main themes. Below is a summary along with some practical advice from Redpoint talent leaders on what helped them be successful their roles.

Branding: What’s Your Talent Brand?

In this highly competitive market, your company’s reputation and brand are key factors in being able to hire the right talent. How you showcase who you are as an employer greatly impacts your ability to attract – and retain – great talent. Every company should be thinking about their Talent Brand and even small, early stage companies have easy opportunities to focus in this area. Highlighting your culture and employees on your company career site through things like videos, pictures, and testimonials from employees is the best place to start, but there are so many other areas to think about. Many of our companies work with LinkedIn career pages, Glassdoor, The Muse, and Stack Overflow, to tell their story where the candidates are looking for jobs. A great piece of advice from the VP of People & Brand at Pocket Gems, Carrie Simonds, is that developing the content to show off your Talent Brand shouldn’t be only recruiting’s responsibility. Partnering with Marketing and PR is a great way to develop your company’s narrative and ensure there is a consistent and compelling message across all channels. Most importantly, make sure your narrative describes an accurate picture of what it’s really like to work at your company because candidates and employees will know when it’s not authentic.

Engagement: Turning Employees into Recruiters

Everyone who is working at a high growth company needs to make recruiting a top priority. That’s right, I said everyone; growing your company shouldn’t be solely on recruiting’s plate.  The best ambassadors for your company are your employees and when employees are engaged with recruiting, it helps your brand and has the ability to attract talented stars that are already in your employees’ networks. Most companies will say that hiring and recruiting are priorities, but do their calendars reflect that? That is a question that Coin’s Head of Talent, Jack Shahin, calls critical. Actions speak louder than words. If employees aren’t spending time interviewing, attending meet ups and events to help find talent, taking time to help with outreach to candidates, then recruiting isn’t a priority.

To help employees get out there to network and meet potential candidates, pair employees up to attend events together or, even better, host an event at your own company – a great way to show off your office space and an easy way for employees to talk with many people about what it’s like to work at your company. Schedule time for an entire team to get together and have a sourcing session and don’t let them leave until they each give you 5 names of potential leads (bring food)! And since people love talking about what they do, get them to write it for a company blog – a great way for candidates to get insight on who their potential teammates will be and for these employees to feel valued.

Another great way to help employees think like recruiters is to get them involved with creating the job descriptions – ask them if they would be interested in the job the way it’s written and if not, have them help write a better version. Use interview debriefs (yes, you should be having them for every candidate) as opportunities for employees to really think about how to add the right talent to the team. Prabha Krishna, who is leading recruiting efforts at Jaunt, says when they review candidates, the interview team asks “will this candidate help us hire the next person?” By trying new ways of engaging your employees and having them be the voice of your brand, it’ll be like you have a whole company of recruiters and your recruiting efforts should be much more successful.

Success: Measuring the Value of Talent Acquisition

So your company is trying all these different recruiting methods and hiring people across the board, but how do you really know which methods are working? How do you measure the success of your efforts? There are many different types of metrics you can use .  Our group of talent leaders relied on these:  time to fill the position, cost of recruiting per hire, sources of hires, the percentage of hires that come through employee referrals, quality of hires, how long candidates are in each stage of the pipeline, offer acceptance rate, and reasons for any declines. There is also tremendous value in a satisfaction rating, by asking new hires (and candidates that ended up not getting hired) how the recruiting process went so you can get real feedback on what people are experiencing as they go through your recruiting process. By telling the right story to your business leaders, they begin to understand how valuable the talent acquisition programs truly are.

We all know how tough it is to attract and hire a rock star team, and having a strong talent leader in place to partner with the business is critical. The dialog with Redpoint’s Talent Leaders during this event let me see first hand how strong and creative this group is; I know we’ll continue to learn from one another for quite some time. It’s exciting to see all the great employees they on board at their companies. I can’t wait to meet up with them again and hear how they did it.

Drop me a line if you want to connect about any of these topics or if you’re interested in becoming a talent leader at one of our companies.