Finding Great Talent Without a Dedicated Recruiting Function

By Michael Overell - May. 31, 2013
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We hosted the first #hiringhacks event, with LinkedIn in San Francisco this week. It was a great turnout for a first event, and showed real appetite for ideas and tips to improve the hiring process at companies of sizes. Thanks to everyone who came along!

What are hiring hacks? Practical, tactical tips for getting better hiring results. Avoiding the theoretical, they should be specific ideas and experiences you can try in your company immediately.

We were joined by an awesome panel, bringing a diverse set of experiences and views, including:

  • Christine Eckhaus, Founder/CEO of Greenstreak Consulting
  • Dino Lamela, Lead Sales Recruiter at Box
  • Jeff Miller, Founder/CEO of Wheelz
  • Katie Hughes, Head of Talent at DFJ.
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One of the overall messages from everyone involved, is that recruiting is a discipline that requires real practice.

Many startup founders believe the are (or should be) great at recruiting. But without building up the discipline through real focus and experience, that’s a low probability! Would you expect to be a black belt in karate without years of structured learning? But that’s OK.

As founder or CEO recruiting is a major part of your job, but it’s OK to ask for help; from investors, advisers, and other professionals.

In the spirit of the event, here are 11 hiring hacks shared by the panel. For other ideas, see this list of 88 hiring hacks for startups.

RecruitLoop and LinkedIn


Building a scalable recruiting process

1. Touch 100 people to make one great hire  (Katie).

2. ‘Flirt’ with people on LinkedIn, to boost response rates. Browse profiles of target candidates, and if someone browses back ask for connection.

3. Recruiting is a process, requiring measurement and metrics. Think of it like a customer conversion funnel, and address the weak points. (Christine).

Sourcing great talent

4. “All our best early hires came from our personal networks” (Jeff)

5. “Your team knows great people. If they care about your mission, they will share them. Give them opportunity and incentive to do it” (Dino).

‘Converting’ great talent

6. Give rockstar candidates access to your investors and major problems. It’s a pitch; you need to excite them  (Jeff).

7. With great candidates, give them full info/scope of the problem, and let them write their own job description  (Katie).

8. At early stage, hire people with very different but complementary skillsets  (Christine).

9. Don’t focus on salary. Find out what motivates someone, and pitch to their passion. You might find them willing to budge; and also that they’re worth more than you think  (Dino).

Working with recruiters

10. Don’t haggle on price. You’ll only lose the best candidates to other companies (if working with contingent recruiters)  (Jeff).

11. Work with different, specialist recruiters depending on the role / niche. You only want to work with the best, and they are worth the cost – (Jeff).


Did you pick up other tips? Share them in the comments below, or Tweet #hiringhacks

And let us know your other pain points and questions so we can cover them in future events.


Looking for more ideas? Checkout this list of 88 Hiring Hacks for Startups.




Michael Overell

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