Most startup founders know that talent acquisition is critical, but plans and execution don’t always coincide. It’s helpful to start by defining who is responsible for which aspects of talent acquisition.
At our recent event Talent Acquisition for Startups event, three experts discussed this issue:
- Angela Mekosh, Talent Acquisition Manager, Taboola
- Sally Bolig, Head of Talent Acquisition, Yotpo
- Liz Tran, VP of Portfolio Talent, Thrive Capital
They discussed the various responsibilities of talent acquisition teams and how to get other employees involved:
Overview: What is Talent Acquisition (and what isn’t)
Angela Mekosh says, “The key to have running a good talent acquisition is you have to have a good relationship with your managers. You have to be able to speak intelligently about what each team does.” An awareness of company weaknesses is also helpful.
Sally Bolig explains that while talent acquisition encompasses many responsibilities, the primary purpose is to find quality salespeople. Sometimes HR is involved in Talent Acquisition, but not always. Like HR, Talent Acquisition personnel need to have a very firm grasp on company culture.
Setting Real Expectations
Angela Mekosh acknowledges that talent acquisition people often see the not-so-great parts of startup life. Startups are not known for offering work-life balance, and it’s important to keep that in mind when determining candidate fit. Oftentimes, you can tell a lot about candidate fit just from the resume. Not everyone with a great resume is a fit for startup culture.
Sharing Market Intel
Liz Tran says, “If you’re at talent acquisition, you’re in a privileged position to see so much of the market that you work in. So, you’re the only person at your company who is speaking to 20 people a week who work at competitive companies and you’re learning all about what those companies do, what they hire for, what their struggles are, whether they’re doing well and you can be a really strong conduit of that information to your hiring managers and to your company at large. Which is a great spot to be in, because it makes you really valuable in the organization.”
Recruiting Top Talent
Finding candidates if often one of the largest responsibilities of talent acquisition. Some companies may have high organic candidate flow, so they can focus more on qualifying. But most talent acquisition teams spend a lot of time recruiting. Many companies actually run their talent acquisition like a sales process, with quotas for cold emails, InMails, interviews set up, etc.
It’s also typical for talent acquisition teams to assume responsibility for the initial phone screen. The purpose of the first phone call is to walk through the resume and double-check whether everything on the resume is true. Talent acquisition also assesses how well the candidate communicates on the phone and other basic tasks.
Aligning with Stakeholders
As Sally Bolig points out, highly effective talent acquisition teams do much more than simply recruiting and qualifying candidates. A strong talent acquisition team develops relationships with managers and knows how to weed out people who won’t be a good fit before they come on site. It’s the talent acquisition team’s job to make sure all stakeholders are on the same page regarding new hires.
Getting Others Involved
According to Liz Tran, talent acquisition works best when it’s a team effort at startups. It shouldn’t just be the recruiter who fulfills tasks from the hiring manager. Everyone within the company should be involved in finding great people. If an employee has coffee with a great potential hire, or meets someone promising at a party, there should be a channel for the talent acquisition team to learn about it and take steps to recruit that person. Talent acquisition should be a proactive process.