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Startupfest 2017: Tom Williams (BetterCompany)

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Startupfest 2017: Tom Williams (BetterCompany)

  1. 1. Recruiting Top Talent By becoming more ambitious @tomwilliams BetterCompany
  2. 2. Background I’m a Canadian living in SF originally from BC. One of the most active angel investors in Canada (Drop, Joist, 7Shifts, Taski, Procurify, ChefHero, CareGuide, MavenCare, OpenCare and others) Started BetterCompany to help people trade career advice anonymously (via a free mobile app of the same name). Knew nothing about recruiting, and didn’t know how to hire. It wasn’t until I started selling software and services to Talent Acquisition teams that I knew anything about hiring.
  3. 3. Hiring is hard. Hiring is hard and time-consuming, we all know that. But hiring the best talent is a challenge unto itself. Because hiring the best talent starts with a mindset shift.
  4. 4. The mindset shift is the “Founder’s paradox.” We say “I believe my company is the most important, amazing company ever” We project this confidence to our existing team, investors, and others and yet - deep down - we’re all riddled with insecurity. If you’re not insecure as a founder before you’ve achieved major traction, I’m worried for you. So this insecurity impacts who we hire. We don’t reach out to attract the best because we don’t yet think we can hire the best. We think “next year, when I _____ I’ll be able to hire someone like this.”
  5. 5. Success is relationship-driven. Real relationships take time to build. As a Founder, you know this because you’re building relationships with investors for your next round NOW. As a founder, you know this because you’re building relationships with potential customers who might buy 6, 9, 12 months from now. But as a founder, are you currently building relationships with your executive team that will help you scale 1, 2 and 3 years from now? “When did Noah build the ark, Gladys? Before the rain… Before the rain…”
  6. 6. 100 - 10 - 1 My real estate friend gave me this ratio: To find the perfect house, you look at 100, offer on 10 to find the 1. This same ratio is applicable to hiring the best talent. So hiring the best talent starts with building the right list of your dream team.
  7. 7. Building the right list. Build your 2 year from now org chart. Start by identifying 20-30 execs for each senior role. Identify the companies where your execs will currently be gaining the most relevant experience to be directly applicable to your Company. Pick companies that have raised at least Series A or beyond. Identify candidates that have already been there for 1 year or 2. Average tenure at a startup is 2.5 years.
  8. 8. Don’t Pitch! - Ask for advice. Because of the volume of unsolicited inbound email and LinkedIn messages people get, you want to differentiate yourself. Here’s a good template: Hi Jane, I have a lot of respect for what you and your team have accomplished at AcmeCo. We are also a marketplace but for balloon artists and I’d love to buy you a coffee or lunch to get some feedback & advice from you” Follow them everywhere you can on social media and look for appropriate, contextual opportunities to engage them.
  9. 9. How I met one of my first “nodes” in the Valley. VP of Product at a post IPO company in the same space. 6 months of tweeting replies with little engagement. Sunday night Twitter Politics. Next week, meeting at his office. He invests on the spot and brought in other investors based on his participation. He is still one of my most important advisors.
  10. 10. Follow-up and Persistence is Key Most founders don’t follow-up. “Keep me posted” really does mean exactly that. Case In Point: Solink. Personalized, paying attention, and most importantly building interest, relationship and credibility as they see you continue to execute.
  11. 11. Respect everyone and their time. We live in a hyper-networked world. There are fewer worst feelings than to have your time wasted and this hurts your ability to attract their friends and colleagues. If you engage anyone, a personalized thank you for their time, and a commitment to revert within a specified number of days is key. Hiring is ultimately more about rejection than it is about hiring. They reject you, you reject them until the perfect fit is found for both. Treating everyone with respect is key to building a great talent brand.
  12. 12. For Canadian Entrepreneurs - Bring them home. There is no better time than to recruit experienced people back to Canada. (Especially in early thirties.) We all are patriotic and giving back is in our blood. Appeal to their ability to level-up their community by sharing their experiences not just with your team but others in the community. Recruit when it’s good weather where you are.
  13. 13. Be clear in your expectations Be able to define specifically what they are being empowered to do and ask them to explain how they’ll build on your success. This is perhaps the hardest lesson for all of us: Empower your people. You should be in awe of your team. The people you hire should make you and the team better. This means learning from them and coaching them, not managing them.
  14. 14. Be transparent with existing team members. Adding management on top of your team changes things. It’s hard and awkward and the only thing that makes it less hard and awkward is lots of communication before, during and after. Read Fred Wilson’s “Rewracking talent” blog. Set the expectation now that the company’s success will be in part defined by being able to attract the people you’re reaching out to.
  15. 15. “Success requires a persistent misreading of the odds” Most of us are really averse to negative experiences. Hearing no or hearing nothing at all, a LOT takes a lot of mental toughness. But don’t stop reaching-out. Treat your candidates like customers. Set CRM reminders, go out your way to stand-out and do the work. The best companies get built this way.
  16. 16. If you’re hiring more

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