Acumen Partners Articles

Recruiting in the World of Start-ups


Recruiting in the World of Start-ups

Who would benefit most from the services of a recruiter? It is actually the Start-Up! One essential hire – whether in sales, operations or general management could cut in half the time required to move from start-up to growth.

Like it or not, almost everyone agrees that recruiters serve a valued role in companies.  Recruiters bring in potential candidates of whom management would not otherwise be aware.  Recruiters can find candidates who are currently working for competitors.  Recruiters take the burden of conducting job searches and hiring off of management and staff who are often struggling to stay afloat due, at least in part, to the need for more employees.

The only drawback is the cost of hiring a recruiter.  Most large corporations have recruiters on staff working full time to fill the open positions.  The independent recruiter normally finds their preferred niche in mid-size companies.  These companies do not have the resources to hire full-time recruiters and will use independent recruiters normally on one-offs for positions that are time constrained or particularly difficult to fill.  The company will provide a job description and specific criteria that will describe a successful candidate. The recruiter will conduct a professional search and provide a slate of candidates who fit the description. The independent recruiter or firm normally is paid 30% of the hire’s annual salary plus any expected commissions or bonuses.  The payment is due on hire and any guarantees are less than 30 days.  While this arrangement is acceptable to a mid-sized company, this process is not appropriate for a start-up.

Often an employee is needed to fill a position that has never been filled before.  Exactly what this potential candidate will look like is vague and a bit disorganized.  Job functions are varied and ever changing.  The most impactful quality is flexibility – the ability to wear more than one hat simultaneously.  This is an area where consulting companies can provide needed assistance in fleshing out the job description, understanding how your company functions and what roles would make the most sense in your current state.  A good consulting firm will understand a company’s needs.

A great consulting firm will understand a company’s needs, on a professional and data-driven analytical level, and offer recruiting services that are affordable, pro-rated and professional.  Acumen Partners is just such a firm.  When Acumen Partners begins a recruiting assignment the first step is to understand the company through data provided by our Baseline™.  Among other things, this will tell the company where they stand compared to others in the market. What are the most important gaps that need to be addressed first, and who might fit in best with the current team?  Once a position has been identified, the recruiter will aid in writing a job description that can be advertised and networked to a variety of resources.  The recruiter will then conduct the search, prescreen applicants and present several candidates to the company along with recommendations.  The biggest difference in the recruiting itself is the payment schedule.  Because Acumen Partners is a start-up and loves start-ups, we are not looking for instant gratification in terms of payment.  We will invoice a company just over half of the standard recruiting percentage and extend the payment schedule out over the first full year.  If a hire does not work for any reason, we stop invoicing immediately and nothing more is due.

We have skin in the game!  If it doesn’t work for a company – it doesn’t work for us.  This process is fiscally responsible for the company and allows staff to concentrate on making their start-up move forward while limiting the chance of buyer’s remorse setting in.

Limited liability, a better understanding of their start-up in terms of their market and professional assistance that normally would be unaffordable – it has to be worth looking into!

Gloria ElliottRecruiting in the World of Start-ups

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