Your Series A funding is a validation of your vision, your early-stage product, and your marketplace reception. This is the ideal time to capture the interest of your founders and investors’ networks of colleagues, peers, friends, clients, and prospects. Leverage your momentum to its maximum effect; that means prioritizing your hiring just as much as your product-market fit and ARR.
The two most important variables that influence your post-Series A hiring plan are your number of open roles and the likely repeatability of each role. In other words, volume and function dictate where you're going to spend your efforts building pipeline.
Essential Characteristics of Your New Hires
Your Series A funding round is usually used to optimize your early user base and your product offerings. The result is proof that your founding team can grow an idea and gain initial traction into a successful business.
Hiring becomes increasingly critical at this stage because new hires must bring contradictory characteristics—short-term flexibility to quickly deliver traction, while possessing longer term capabilities to scale the product or service through the next round of funding.
Therefore, it's crucial that all hires are able to flex and stretch into new roles, levels, situations and demands that fast growing companies find themselves in.
This is the stage where everyone MUST be able to see issues and dive in to solve them, step up, and take leadership. Here, everyone is finding solutions to unforeseen challenges while they are moving so fast that they often don’t have time to stop and take a breath. Effective hiring for this stage covers three themes:
1. Delivery—How can they help deliver your product and build the marketplace? 2. Ambiguity—How will they deal with constant change and challenges? 3. Passion—What do they care about so deeply that they will work on it with everything they’ve got?
Your budgets and forecasts are in place. Now comes the fun part. This is where you launch your plan of attack based on your total open reqs and which of them repeat.
Needles in Haystacks
10% or less of your roles will be hired rarely each year. Due to their low repeatability, these can be outsourced to a contingency agency. While you will eat a sizeable per-hire fee, these payments should be infrequent enough as not to hurt your runway.
It's less critical to own the entire sourcing pipeline for these rare hires because your attention should be concentrated elsewhere. You'll probably be focused on building your sales and product/engineering teams as top talent acquisition priorities.
Your Repeat Offenders
90% of your job openings have the potential to be filled multiple times each year. These roles have an ongoing demand that increases with your company’s growth rate. Think business/sales development representatives (BDR/SDRs) or Full-Stack Software Engineers.
Finding these hires should be owned internally. This is done through effectively leveraging referrals and using hourly support from external recruiting partners.
Owning Your Strategy
You must own candidate identification, sourcing outreach, initial interviewing, and interview process management regardless of how you divide up responsibilities internally and externally,
Behind-the-scenes, it's imperative to invest in candidate tracking, building long-term relationships, understanding the marketplace for these roles, and building up your internal database.
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