This week a CEO Founder who had just got investment and was looking to start building his team asked me, “Do you think I should get a CTO straight away, or a developer who can grow into a CTO?”. With further discussion it transpired that the best way to move forward was to retain a freelance CTO advisor alongside a senior developer with no expectation of them becoming the CTO.
With cash under scrutiny and business growth often uncertain, it is more important than ever to ensure you hire the right people for the right roles in your business. Nobody wants to hire unnecessarily, yet everyone recognises that poor hires can be costly mistakes. It can be tempting to replace leavers with like-for-like hires, but so much has changed that this is the ideal time to revisit roles and priorities. However, many people find it difficult to work out who and with what skills they need on their team.
Before you start to write any job description these are some of the most important questions you need to ask.
What is the business need for this new hire?
Start with the business objective and work backwards. Too often people think they need another person as the team is busy, but the objective for the role is not always clear. This can result in poor hires and, if you’re submitting a request to your Finance Director for additional budget, make it hard to justify the role. Additionally, not understanding the reason you need to hire someone will make it harder to create a new and engaging job description. This lack of clarity then means you are more likely to waste time interviewing candidates that are not right.
Why do you need another person?
Challenge yourself again. Can someone else in the team take on this work? What skills and experience should this person bring to the table that you don’t have already? It could be as simple as there is too much work to go around your team, but it’s worth thinking about this as it will become an important part of the story used to sell the role to the candidate.
How will I know that this new hire has been successful?
Candidates want to know what key projects they will be working on and what your expectations are. Prepare the specific goals and milestones you want them to achieve in the short, medium, and long term. Be ready to explain how their success will be measured and outline any targets or KPIs and make sure they align with your business goal. Understand the relationships this person needs to build internally and externally and how they will contribute to the team’s overall success. Setting expectations from the start of your recruitment process will attract the right candidates, inform your assessment criteria and help you create a better relationship with your future employee.
Once they’ve started how will I know it’s working?
Too often, probation objectives are an afterthought left until the new hire has started. Knowing what someone needs to master, learn, and accomplish will help you hire high performers. It will also help you understand what support any high potential hires will require to be successful.
By asking yourself these questions you will have a better understanding as to why you need someone and what they need to achieve in your business. You will be able to write a better job description and advert, save yourself time interviewing by having a clearer idea as to what qualifies a candidate in or out, and uncover aspects of the role that will help sell it to the best candidate.
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