Jump on LinkedIn or any social channel and you will no doubt see the following when it comes to hiring:
- It’s tough to source and engage the ‘right’ candidates in this talent market
- It’s more competitive and expensive to hire great talent and keep them around
- It’s a key focus to source a diverse pipeline of talent, but that’s often not a reality
So how are sales and revenue leaders at high-growth startups solving these challenges? How have they changed the way they think about hiring to attract and land candidates who are diverse, passionate, and high-performing — without having to overpay?
Successful hiring managers consistently do three things:
- Lead with (real) insight into their team.
- Look for aptitude, not logos or years of experience.
- Give candidates a taste of the role.
Sounds great on the top line, but what does that mean? How can you do the same?
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Proof of concept
I’ll share some practical tips from revenue leaders at high-growth startups in the US. These leaders work at Series A to D companies that have, over the last 12 months:
- Raised $15M – $240M in fresh funding
- Grown their sales teams by 80% – 400%
In short, these leaders know how to hire and build successful teams that fuel growth. Their ideas are simple, easy to execute, and effective: It’s not about more work, it’s about making the small changes that mean a lot to candidates. The things that make them more likely to apply, engage and ultimately say yes to joining.
📋 Read: How to Train Your HR Department to Hire Quality Sales Reps
Competitive hiring tactics for revenue roles
1. Lead with (real) insight into your team
Be transparent about challenges
Candidates want to know what their impact — and challenges — will be day to day.
In their first touchpoint with candidates, successful hiring managers consistently share the crunchy problems they are trying to solve, both for their customers and internally as a team. Deliver this right at the start of the hiring process to increase transparency and trust.
“I talk about things that we’re working on, about why this role is important. I talk about where this role could go and what our team’s going to look like today in the future.”
– VP of Sales for Series A start-up
Get the team involved
Candidates want to know who they will be working with. These hiring managers provide this insight by getting someone in the team to talk through:
- What their week involves
- Recent wins they’ve had
- How they’ve developed while in their role and as part of the team
Show your genuine interest in applicants from all backgrounds
Tone is hard to get across in job descriptions. Successful leaders and hiring managers know that when the job ad only includes generic statements about the ‘hiring process being inclusive,’ many candidates might not feel open to applying to the role.
To show a genuine desire to consider all candidates, leaders at these start-ups shared stories about backgrounds of recent hires alongside the job ad. And when new hires started on their teams, they used social channels to highlight them and encourage other candidates to apply.
Example: You’re a candidate who sees a job ad for an SDR role. You then go to LinkedIn to see who the SDR manager is, and see they’ve posted about a recent hire that came from a non-traditional background or who was considered for the role despite not having worked in SaaS before. That’s when you decide to put yourself forward, not move on to the next role.
In short: They’re inviting, not discouraging. Each one of these tactics brings authenticity and shows a candidate that irrespective of their background they should apply and be comfortable putting their whole self forward… because you’ve just done the same.
🎤 Listen: Sales Hacker Podcast: Tips for Building a Diverse Team of High-Quality Salespeople with Wesley Ulysse
2. Look for aptitude, not logos or years of experience
If a candidate stands out as motivated and passionate about the company, product, and role, and their core skills align, managers want to see that candidate.
Leaders from our high-growth start-up group explicitly tell their talent team not to look at logos or field experience (e.g. SaaS). Instead, focus on passion for the role and the company’s mission, resilience, collaboration, creativity, and adaptability. Then, dig further in first interviews, asking:
- Why has the candidate been successful, and why did they make certain choices?
- How have they approached and worked through a situation where things haven’t gone well?
- What are the things they want to walk away with from their time in the role?
- What do they want to impact?
Following this approach means you don’t inadvertently screen out individuals who are likely to be a great fit, grow with the business, and stick with you through the challenges common in an early-stage company. It’s about hiring for someone that’s 80% what you’re looking for, because that 20% difference is where all the value is found.
📋 Read: How to Increase Diversity and Inclusion in Your Sales Hiring Process
3. Give candidates a taste
Put candidates in a real scenario and allow them to engage with the team.This allows a candidate to get a direct feel for what they would be doing in the role and what it would be like to work in the team.
There are three ways sales leaders commonly achieve this:
- Present them with a segment and get them to outline their approach
- Present a customer-facing scenario and ask them how they would work through it
- Give them a component of a small internal project, and ask them to provide a PoV on the solution
“We go through an account stack rank. Give them five real accounts, and have them explain why. Then ask them how they would engage with the top account and what their approach would be”
– Sales Director at $1bn+ Series D StartUp, on their interview task for AEs
Have you found these tips valuable, but a lot, and not sure where to start? This is the problem space Hatch is passionate about solving — and why leaders like Amazon, Uber, and Faire trust Hatch to find the right candidates, based on strengths, work styles, and values. Hiring? Give Hatch a try.
We’d love your feedback on how we can continue to improve the way you hire — share your thoughts in the comments below!